I have a fond childhood memory with lamb roasts where our grandmother used to prepare it with the utmost care every holiday season to gather the family together. Even though this Kashmiri lamb recipe is far from the lamb roast but it does trigger those memories each time.
The secret behind extracting the maximum flavor from chilies is to split them in half and roast them in a pan before adding to the food processor along with Thai chilies and water. Disclaimer: you can just use one kind of chilies if you aren’t fond of spicy food (unlike me)!
For me roasted spices bring out a lot more flavor and this is why I roast the cumin, bay leaves, and garlic before adding them to the lamb. The lamb by the way only needs to be marinated in salt and pepper. All the other spices are added once the lamb has been seared.
It is crucial to understand the cooking time of your lamb, when it is half way done you will need to add all the spices and chicken stock and leave it to boil for an hour at least. After an hour add the tamarind paste, mint and chili powder and let the meat cook through.
Your lamb should be fork tender when you take it off and before you cut into it let it rest for about 20 minutes. Use all the left over marinade from your skillet as a sauce to go with the lamb. I pity those who get rid of all that beautiful marinade.
Serve with a side of plain rice.
- 2 dried Kashmiri or pasilla chiles, broken
- 1 red Thai or Anaheim chile. stemmed and seeded
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 t black cumin seeds, kala jeera or regular cumin seeds
- 10 garlic cloves, mashed
- 4 lamb shoulder chops (about 2¾ pounds)
- Kosher salt
- 1 T black peppercorns
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 T tamarind paste or concentrate
- 4 T dried mint, divided
- 1 T red chili powder
- 1 handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 1In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan toast dried chiles over medium high heat for 1 -2 minutes to bring out their flavor. Put the toasted chiles in a blender or food processor, along with the Thai or Anaheim chile and 1 cup of water. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
- 2In the same pan, over medium-high heat, toast the black cumin and bay leaves stirring so they don't burn until they release their aroma, about 1-2 minutes. Add mashed garlic and continue cooking briefly, about another minute. Stirring so the garlic doesn't burn. Remove from pan and set aside.
- 3In the same pan, add 2 T olive oil and heat over medium high flame. Season the lamb on all sides with kosher salt and pepper. Add to the hot oil and sear on all sides, for about 5 minutes.
- 4Add the blended chile mixture to the lamb, along with the peppercorns, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour.
- 5Add tamarind paste, 2 T dried mint and chili powder and stir to combine. Continue cooking for another hour until lamb is fork tender.
- 6Remove lamb from the sauce to a serving platter and keep warm. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, bay leaves and any residual bones from the sauce. Turn the heat up and reduce sauce to about ⅔ cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 7Pour the lamb over the sauce and garnish with remaining dried mint and fresh mint.