First up I happened to find a small package of lamb shoulder nearing its sell-by date at the store and discounted 30%. Discount meat may not sound appealing ;-) but I love a good lamb curry and I love a value, so I bought it and went to the mother of all curry cookbooks, "660 Curries" by Raghavan Iyer to find a recipe. I am delinquent, because although I have had this book for a few years now I had not cooked anything from it yet--which is too bad because it is a fabulous book--curries for every mood and main ingredient.
Cashew Lamb with a Coconut Milk Sauce (Kaaju Nariyal Gosht)
"660 Curries" by Raghavan Iyer
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
1 lb boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed off and discarded, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large red onion, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch cubes
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds from green or white pods
6 whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
7 lengthwise slices fresh ginger (each 1 1/2-inches long, 1-inch wide, & 1/4-inch thick), finely chopped
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tsp cayenne (ground red pepper)
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems for garnishing
Combine the cashews, 1/3 cup water, and the salt in a blender jar. Puree, scraping the inside of the jar as needed, to make a smooth marinade. Pour this into a medium-size bow, add the lamb, and stir to coat the lamb with it. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes or as long as overnight, to allow the mellow cashew flavor to penetrate the meat.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry until it is caramel-brown, 8-10 minutes.
While the onion is browning, combine the coriander, cumin, fennel, and cardamom seeds in a spice grinder. Add the cloves and grind until the texture resembles that of finely ground black pepper. Set it aside.
Add the lamb, including the marinade, to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is completely absorbed into the meat, 8 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle in the ground spices along with the turmeric, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring , until the spices are aromatic. 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of water and stir to deglaze the skillet, releasing any collected bits of spice and onion. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is fork-tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk, vinegar, and cayenne, and continue to simmer, uncovered, to allow the added flavors to blend in, 2 to 4 minutes.
Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve,
Tip: If you are allergic to cashew nuts, feel free to substitute any other nut that might be safe for you. If all nuts are taboo, puree 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion instead of the cashew nuts. It is obviously not a substitute for the nuts, making for a more pungent flavor, but it is an acceptable alternative that provides yet another layer of flavor to the wide world of curries.
I am always happy to find local products and businesses to love--especially when they involve food. I have written about all of these local businesses before--but I having been loving a few new treats from them that I thought I would highlight.
Other new favorite products that I am happy to support on the "sweets" side include my new obsession Madre Chocolate. (Read my post from last week about the awesome class I took and the company here.) Dave from Madre was at the Hawaii Kai Farmers Market this past Saturday with two bars I had not yet tried. In the interest of research (you don't have to thank me), I thought I should try both. The Hawaiian Passion Fruit Dark Chocolate (see it in the top right corner--isn't it a pretty bar?!), takes passion fruit (or lilikoi) from The Big Island and pairs it with their 70% cacao. It is slightly tangy, a little sweeter than the hibiscus bar previously tried and the pairing works really well--a fruity bar, smooth texture and lots of flavor. The Triple Cacao Dark Chocolate is a unique combination of cacao in three of its forms--the dark chocolate, combined with the slightly tangy cacao fruit pulp and the roasty cacao nibs. I loved this bar for it's complex flavor and textures--it is full of chewy and crunchy bits worked into the smooth chocolate.
I have talked about Ono Pops before, Mexican-style fruit paletas made with locally-sourced ingredients in wonderful combinations. I try to keep a few in my freezer for an occasional treat. This week their special was the Chocolate-Strawberry, a delicious fruity strawberry pop was dipped in a thick layer of dark chocolate. So ono! After enjoying it I really wished I had bought more than one--both the bar and the chocolate coating were excellent.
Satisfied that it was the recipe they wanted, much back and forth ensued about what the dressing could be used on and I filled out a questionnaire some of which became the basis of the intro to the recipe. It does sound a bit like I go around my tiny kitchen drizzling this dressing on everything I eat which isn't quite the case, but I do make it or a variation of it when I have leftover fennel fronds that I don't want to waste. It is fun to have a recipe out there and I really do love Molly O'Neill and especially her "The New York Cookbook" so it is an honor to be involved in something with her name on it. There are so many recipes in this book that sound delicious and I can't wait to get around to trying some of them.
So those are the very delicious Things I Am Loving This Week, brought back especially for my sister Phyl, and hopefully back again more often that it has been. ;-)