48. Red lamb or beef stew


2 x 2.5 cm ginger root, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tbsp water, plus 300-450ml
10 tbsp vegetable oil
900g boned shoulder or leg of lamb, or stewing beef (chuck) cut into 2.5cm cubes
10 cardamom pods
2 Bay leaves
6 Cloves
10 peppercorns
2.5 cm cinnamon stick
200g Onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp bright red Paprika, mixed with 0.25-1 tsp cayenne pepper
1.25 tsp Salt
6 tbsp natural yogurt
0.25 tsp Garam masala
freshly ground black pepper


1. Put the ginger, garlic and 4 tbsp water into the container of an electric blender. Blend well until you have a smooth paste.

2. Heat the oil in a wide heavy pan over a medium-high heat. Brown the meat cubes in several batches and set to one side. Put the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the same hot oil. Stir once and wait until the cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on colour. This just takes a few seconds. Now put in the onions. Stir and fry for about 5 minutes or until the onion turn a medium-brown colour. Put in the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika-cayenne and salt. Stir and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the fried meat cubes and juices, Stir for 30 seconds. Now put in 1 tbsp of the yogurt. Stir and fry for about 30 seconds or until the yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time as before. Stir and fry for 3-4 minutes.

3. Now add 300ml water if you are cooking lamb and 450ml if you are cooking beef. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil, scraping in all browned spices on the sides and bottom of the pan. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour for the lamb and 2 hours for beef, or until the meat is tender. (It could be baked, covered, in a pre-heated 180C/gas 4 oven for the same length of time or until tender.) Every 10 minutes or so, give the meat a good stir. When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the heat up to medium and boil away some of the liquid. You should end up with tender meat in a think, reddish-brown sauce. Spoon off the fat. Sprinkle garam masala and black pepper over the meat before you serve and mix them in.