My favourite protein has always been lamb and my love affair with it has only increased after coming to Australia. You get the most amazing cuts of meat here and I am trying to befriend the butchers at the Dandenong Farmer’s market to learn more about butchery. And for those who live in Melbourne and have not visited this market, it is a great place for family and budget shopping. The fresh produce, vibrancy, colours and the market mayhem…makes it a true shopping adventure each time. Plus, there are plenty of activities and fun stuff for children on the weekends so you can double it up as a fun family outing too.
One of my other favourite hang outs in the market is the Sam’s spice and grocery; you can find an extensive spread of spice blends from around the world here. Apart from spices, you can find a range of pickles, chutneys, condiments too. The Dandenong Farmer’s market also has some amazing eateries and cafes serving different cuisines like Indian, Chinese, Pakistani, Turkish, Mauritian, Dutch etc… to name a few. The Turkish café, Shish Delish is my personal favourite; you ought to try the chicken kebabs there. Want to know more; check out this space!
So, while I was at the market last week, I bought lamb deciding to make an old classic – laziz lamb handi. This is a traditional lamb preparation that originated in Punjab but went on to become a famous Pakistani dish too (post partition). Traditionally, the meat is prepared in a handi which is an earthenware or metal pot with a narrow mouth in which the lamb is cooked slowly with a medley of spices and aromatics.
Now, I do not yet possess a handi and prepared the dish in a regular pot but those who have one must definitely try out this dish in a handi as it helps to tie in and blend the flavours much more quickly. I used lamb pieces on the bone because I think the meat and the dish is much more flavourful when the bones are in but you can also use boneless pieces for this dish.
So without much further ado, here’s how I prepared laziz lamb handi – succulent pieces of lamb cooked in a medley of aromatic spices and creamy tomato onion gravy.
Recipe adapted from http://cooks.ndtv.com
1. 1 kg lamb – cut into medium-sized pieces, on the bone
2. 300 gm ghee
3. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
4. 6 onions – finely chopped
5. 2 tbsp ginger – crushed
6. 2 tbsp garlic paste
7. 3 bay leaf
8. 3 green cardamom
9. 1 inch cinnamon bark
10. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
11. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
12. 1 tsp mace/javitri – grated
13. 1 ½ tsp dry ginger powder
14. 1 tbsp red chilli powder
15. Salt – to season
16. 4 ripe red tomatoes – chopped
17. 1 – 1 ½ cups yoghurt
18. 1 tbsp cream
• Heat ghee and oil in a pot and add the chopped onions; sauté till light brown.
• Then add crushed ginger, garlic paste and sauté.
• Next, add all the other spices with tomatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add water if the lamb gets too dry.
• Now add the lamb pieces, season with salt and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
• Add 2 cups water and cook covered on low flame for 30 minutes or till the meat has become tender. Check in between and add more water if necessary.
• Stir yoghurt and cream to make a smooth mixture and add this to the lamb curry. Stir continuously till the yoghurt has mixed in well to prevent splitting.
• Cook for a while till the gravy has thickened up and coated the lamb pieces well.
• Garnish with a dollop of cream and serve hot with Indian flatbreads or rice.
• Tuck in!