Laal Maas (Lamb Curry)

Laal Maas

This famous, fiery hot lamb curry from Rajasthan is seasoned with whole spices and red chilies. I like to use some paprika along with the cayenne pepper to temper the heat and add that gorgeous red colour to the curry. Serve with naan and a fresh salad.

2 tbsp oil

6 each, whole spices: cardamom, cloves

1 star anise

2 inch stick of cinnamon

1 mace flower, optional

1/4 crushed nutmeg, optional

1 large cooking onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

1 lb boneless leg of lamb, cubed into bite sized pieces

1 tsp each, ground spices: coriander, cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp paprika

Salt to taste

1/2 cup each: thick Balkan style plain yogurt, water

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Warm oil in deep heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add cardamom, cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, mace and nutmeg (if using). Sizzle spices for 1 min, then add onions.

Saute onions until lightly browned, about 5-7 min.

Add lamb, garlic, ginger, all the ground spices and salt. Saute for 5-7 min until lamb browns lightly and becomes aromatic.

Add yogurt, stirring all the while for 1 min. Add water, mix well, cover and bring contents of skillet to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 2 hours or longer until lamb is very tender and sauce is thick. Stir occasionally and add another 1/4 cup of water if needed.

Fold in fresh coriander and serve.

Serves four


East Indian Prawn Curry

Here is my friend Lorraine Gonsalves' fantastic recipe for prawn curry using Bottle masala. She adds vegetables such as sliced Daikon (white) radish or okra or turnips to the sauce before adding in the shrimp. The veggies absorb all the wonderful spicy flavours and add character to this dish. For a creamier sauce, use coconut milk instead of water or half water and half coconut milk for the perfect balance! Serve with plain cooked basmati rice.

East Indian Prawn Curry

2 tbsp oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 inch ginger, chopped

2 large plum tomatoes (canned or fresh), chopped

1/4 cup frozen shredded coconut, thawed

1 tbsp each: tamarind extract, vinegar

Salt to taste

2 tbsp Bottle Masala

1 1/2 cups water or coconut milk

1 lb large raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

Warm oil in deep skillet set over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Saute until softened and lightly browned, about 5-7 min.

Remove from oil (reserve oil in skillet for later use in this recipe) and transfer to jar of blender. Add tomatoes, coconut, tamarind, vinegar, salt and Bottle masala. Blend to a smooth paste.

Warm skillet with leftover oil (or add another tbsp of oil if needed) over medium heat. Add paste from blender, saute until bubbling and slightly thickened, about 2-3 min.

Add water or coconut milk, mix well and cook uncovered for 5 min on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add shrimp, cover skillet and cook for 5 min or until shrimp are completely cooked and pink in colour, stirring occasionally.

Fold in fresh coriander.

Serves four




Curried Lamb Tarts With Feta

Curried Lamb Tarts With Feta

The ground lamb stuffing can also be used to stuff vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant or zucchini. Or try it with naan. 

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped 
6 whole canned plum tomatoes, lightly drained and pureed
Salt to taste
1 tsp each: ground coriander, ground cumin, 
dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi), garam masala
1/2 tsp each: turmeric, cayenne pepper
2 tbsp each: sour cream, 
chopped fresh coriander
1 lb. lean ground lamb
1 cup each: frozen peas, crumbled feta cheese 
 Warm oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and after a few seconds, add the minced garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30 seconds, then add the chopped onions. Sauté them for 8 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium and add the tomatoes. Cook them for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Add all the spices and salt. Add the sour cream, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the lamb to the skillet. Brown it for 5 minutes, mixing it constantly and breaking up all the lumps. Add the peas and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. There should be no liquid left in the lamb mixture at the end of cooking time. Stir fry it for a few minutes longer if necessary and increase heat to medium high. Mix in the fresh coriander leaves and crumbled feta. Cool and reserve this topping. You can also make this up to 3 days ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until needed.
1 frozen pie shell or several small frozen tart shells, thawed

Preheat oven to 350F.
Place pie or tart shells on baking sheet. Fill generously with prepared warm lamb topping, tamping down slightly to even it out. Top with additional crumbled feta if desired. Bake 20-25 minutes until pastry is cooked and golden. Cool slightly and serve. 
Serves six

Chicken Curry With Chickpeas

Chicken Curry With Chickpeas

The delicious meaty goodness of chicken and chickpeas come together in this unusual and tasty dish! Serve with basmati rice.

1 lb (about 8) boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 tbsp oil, divided
Salt to taste
½ tsp each, divided: ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, turmeric, cayenne pepper, dried fenugreek leaves
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ inch piece ginger, minced or grated
1 ½ cups (about 8 large) canned whole plum tomatoes, lightly drained and pureed in food processor or blender
1 tbsp ground almonds
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup water
1 tbsp each, finely chopped, fresh: parsley, coriander, mint, dill
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 420F. Line a baking tray with parchment.
Cut chicken into small bite sized pieces. Place in large mixing bowl. Add 2 tbsp oil, salt to taste and ¼ tsp of all the spices. Mix well to combine, then spread chicken in single layer on parchment lined tray.
Bake for 20 min. Remove from oven and reserve chicken with all of its juices.
Warm remaining 2 tbsp oil in deep non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, ginger and garlic. Sauté until slightly softened, about 5 min. Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes, salt to taste, remaining ¼ tsp of all the spices and ground almonds. Cook for 5 min until mixture thickens slightly.
Add chickpeas, water and reserved chicken with juices. Mix well, cover skillet and cook for 20 min on medium low heat.
Fold in chopped herbs and butter.
Serve hot.
Serves four



Saffron Chicken Tikka With Black Pepper

Chicken Kali Mirch.jpg

Saffron tinges this mild and flavourful chicken tikka with a beautiful golden colour.  The chicken is soft and succulent with the addition of cream in the marinade and baste. It is a great way to gently introduce people to spicy food. Flavoured with ground black pepper but not overly spicy, this tikka makes a wonderful appetizer or lunch when nestled in a bed of salad or wrapped in warm naan. A vegetarian option would be to switch cubes of paneer for the chicken. Read more about pepper in The Story Of Pepper.
Read more about saffron in Glory Of Saffron.


2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed into 2 inch chunks

6 cloves garlic

1 inch piece ginger

1/4 cup each: crumbled feta or grated cheddar cheese, thick plain yogurt such as Labneh or Balkan style, whipping cream

2 tbsp each: oil, lemon juice, whipping cream, melted butter

Salt to taste

1 tsp freshly ground or crushed black pepper

1/2 tsp each: saffron strands, ground cardamom, toasted ground cumin

Place chicken in deep mixing bowl.

Combine garlic, ginger, cheese, yogurt, 1/4 cup whipping cream, oil, lemon juice, salt, spices and 1/4 tsp saffron strands in mini blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

Pour over chicken, tossing well to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Preheat barbecue to medium. Thread chicken on to skewers and place on barbecue. Grill for about 8 min per side, turning once.

Meanwhile, combine melted butter, 2 tbsp whipping cream and 1/4 tsp saffron in small bowl. Brush generously over chicken towards the last 2-3 min of cooking time.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

Serves six