Slow cooked lamb with Indian masalas...
This lamb is inspired by European slow cooking process, especially recipes of Jamie Oliver and Original Naked Chef (he has loads of interesting recipes on the YouTube).
Around December last year after learning this method of slow cooking lamb in the oven, I wanted to try this at home. But my husband who around that time had been having a lot of European food outside (Christmas parties and all), wanted something Indian. Since I did not want to wait for his want-to-eat-only-Indian-food-at-home phase to get over, I decided to incorporate this cooking method with the traditional Bengali way of cooking mangsho/meat.
So this is what I do, I start making the lamb/goat the Indian way, I fry the masalas and add the meat and let them fry together for half an hour to one hour, depending on my patience, throw in some potatoes and once when the meat looks like it has sucked in the flavours from the spices, rather that putting them in the pressure cooker, I put the whole thing in the oven and leave it for 3 to 4 hours (again depending on the time I have in hand). The result is the most awesome lamb, the meat is so soft that the meat literally falls off the bone, the gravy is rich and spicy and the potatoes are to die for. Throughout the Christmas socialization period I have been making this and my guests all love it!
Lamb/goat shoulder or smaller pieces with bones (1kg)
4 medium sized potatoes, cut into four pieces each
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 medium onions, finely chopped
2 to 4 green chillies, according to taste (since we do not like our food too hot, I put 1 to 2 chilies)
1/2 a tub of low fat yogurt
2 table spoon of ginger garlic paste
Whole garam masala-- 4 cloves, 4 green cardamoms, 4 whole pepper corns, three fourth of a cinnamon bark, a couple of star anise (slightly mash the whole spices to release their flavour)
2 tea spoon of tumeric, red chilli powder,coriander powder, ginger powder and cumin powder and some freshly grated nutmeg
2 table spoon of sugar
Salt to taste
4 table spoons of vegetable oil
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 3 to 5 hours
Take the meat out of refrigerator half an hour to an hour prior to cooking. Wash the meat joint and slit the meat in three to four places on each side, be careful and do not cut into the bone. Pat the meat dry and season it with salt.
Turn your oven on at 170 degree Celsius.
In a heavy bottom pan, pour the oil, once the oil is hot and steaming, turn the heat to low and add the whole garam sasalas, immediately after that add the onion and the sugar. Let the onion fry for about 7 to 8 mins, add the spices. The amount of oil is not sufficient for the spices to fry (I initially used to put around 8 table spoons of oil, but that makes the dish too rich since the lamb releases a whole lot of fat during cooking, so I reduced the amount of oil), so you will have been add drops of water to help the masala cook, once the masala is done, add the ginger garlic paste, cook for 5 mins more, adding water otherwise the masala may burn. Add the meat, fat side down and press it down. The purpose is to sear the meat and seal in the flavours, turn it around and on the sides and sear the other sides too. Then add the yogurt and the tomatoes and let it all cook together. What our grandmothers and mothers do is let this meat cook for an hour without adding any water. This is the tedious stage, since there is not much oil, chances of the meat burning are big, so you have to keep adding drops of water to help it cook. Depending on my patience level I do this for twenty minutes to an hour. Once an hour is over or your patience is, add three to four cups of hot water and bring it to a boil.
Pour the whole thing to a baking tray, cover it with foil and put it inside the oven for two to four hours. Keep checking at intervals.
The recipe may sound complicated, but once you have spent the first hour slaving on the stove top, rest of the cooking process is taken care by the oven. At the end you get the most succulent and flavour-some piece of meat you have had in your life, that I can guarantee!