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Mughlai Lamb with Turnips - Shabdeg

Our local supermarket has perfect sweet turnips with purple and white skin and green tops so when flicking through Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking we just couldn’t go past this unusual lamb curry. The cooking method goes against many of our instincts but, not wanting to mess with Madhur Jaffrey, we followed the instructions to the letter and the result was amazing! Great with steamed rice or serve with Mushroom Pullao, Spicy Green Beans and Yoghurt with Walnuts and Coriander for a fabulous Indian feast.

Wine Suggestion: We like many struggle to match Indian food with wine. Tonight we had a clean lager which fitted the bill for us, though some more adventurous beers would be good too.

Mughlai Lamb with Turnips  (Shabdeg) – serves 6

  • 10 small turnips, weighing 750g when the leaves and stems have been removed (halve the turnips if they are larger)
  • 5 medium onions, peeled
  • 8 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg stewing lamb shoulder cut into 4cm cubes (include some bones if you have them)
  • 285ml plain yoghurt
  • 2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2.25 litres water
  • ½ tsp garam masala

Peel the turnips and prick them all over with a fork. Put them in a bowl and rub with ¾ tsp of salt, then set aside for 1½-2 hours.

Cut the onions in half, lengthwise, and then across into very thin slices.

Heat the oil in a large, wide, and preferably non-stick pot over a medium-high heat. When hot, stir and fry the onions for about 12 minutes or until they are reddish brown in colour (this took longer than 12 minutes on our hob). Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, squeezing out and leaving behind as much oil as you can. Spread the onions out on a plate.

Add the meat, yoghurt, ginger and 1 tsp of salt to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil, then turn the heat up to high. You should have lots of fairly thin sauce. Cook on a high heat, stirring now and then, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is fairly thick and you just begin to see the oil (be patient as we cooked for more like 20 minutes to get to this point). Turn the heat down to medium-high and keep stirring and frying for another 5-7 minutes or until the meat is lightly brown and the sauce has disappeared. Turn the heat to medium-low, then add the turmeric, cayenne, and coriander. Stir for a minute.

Add the water and 1tsp of salt. Drain the turnips and add them to the pot. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until you have less than a third of the liquid left (this stage took closer to an hour for us). Stir the pot occasionally as it cooks.

Return the browned onions to the pan and add the garam masala. Stir gently to mix and turn the heat to low. Cook gently, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Stir it now and then but be careful not to break up the turnips.

Spoon off the fat that floats to the top and serve hot with rice and other Indian dishes (see above).

(Original recipe from Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, Baron’s Educational Series, 2002.)

 

 

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