From my favorite Indian chef, Madhur Jaffrey. This dish is published for lamb but works beautifully with MITP capretto stew meat. The recipe is simple, yet exquisitely exotic—whenever I’ve made this peoplegonuts for it! (All whole spices available at Berkshire Coop)
Serves 4 – 6
4 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
6 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
A pinch of ground asafetida, optional
3 lb shoulder of lamb boned or unboned, cut roughly into 2 inch cube
A 1 inch stick of cinnamon
10 whole cardamom pods
15 whole cloves
1 ¾ teaspoons dried ginger powder
3 ¾ cups water
1 ½ teaspoons dried ginger powder
1 ¾ cups plain yogurt
¼ teaspoon garam masala
Put the fennel seeds into a clean coffee grinder or other spice grinder and grind until you have a powder.
Heat the oil in a heavy, wide pot over high heat. When hot, put in the asafetida. One second later, put in all the meat, as well as the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and salt. Stir and cook, uncovered, over high heat for about 5 minutes or until almost all the water released by the meat disappears and the meat browns very lightly. Lower the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon water, the fennel and ginger. Stir to mix. Add 3 2/3 cup water, cover partially, and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. Cover completely, turn heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes or until the meat is tender. Stir a few times as the meat cooks, adding a few tablespoons of water if it seems to dry out.
Beat the yogurt in a bowl until it is smooth and creamy.
Remove the cover from the meat pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Push the meat cubes to the edges of the pot, leaving a well-like space in the center. Pour the yogurt very slowly into this well, while moving a slotted spoon back and forth quite fast in the same area. (If you do not do this, the yogurt will curdle.) Keep up the back and forth movement of the slotted spoon for a good 5 minutes after all the yogurt has been poured in. You should now have a simmering, cream sauce. Cover partially and continue to cook on medium-low heat for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the garam masala mix.