Spiced Lamb Stew – Telangana, central India

This recipe came from Saveur.com, and I found it during my week of Indian cooking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wow, is it good! The original recipe called for bone-in lamb, and that might have been even better; but I made mine with boneless lamb stew meat and it was terrific.

I did the whole thing in my brand new dutch oven. At several points the bottom seemed “burned,” but it always scraped up nicely, and probably added a depth of flavor to the stew.

1/3 c olive oil
1 lb medium red potatoes
6 green cardamom pods (or 1/2 t cardamom seeds)
6 whole cloves (ground would be better I think…)
2-3 c of chopped onion (2 large onions)
1 lb lamb stew meat, well salted (or 2 lb bone-in lamb shoulder)
1 t cayenne pepper
3/4 t ground turmeric (or 2 t chopped fresh turmeric)
2 cloves garlic, chopped or mashed
1 t fresh chopped ginger
1 c plain yogurt (the recipe called for full-fat but I used fat-free and it was fine)
3/4 c minced cilantro
1/2 t garam masala
3 small green Thai chiles – I skipped these and there was still a nice gentle heat, from the cayenne
1 T pumpkin seeds – I skipped these too

Saute the potatoes in oil for 6-8 minutes until browned and partially cooked. Remove to a bowl, leaving the oil behind if possible.

Saute the onions in the same pan, adding oil if necessary. Add the cardamom and cloves and saute until lightly caramelized, about 20 minutes, then remove to the container with your potatoes.

Saute the lamb in the pan until brown, 5-6 minutes. Add the spices and then the yogurt, 1/4 c at a time. The yogurt will turn the stew kind of liquid-y until it cooks off. Once the meat/dairy is rather dry, add 2c water and boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is nice and tender.

Add the potatoes and onions back to the pan and cook until the potatoes are done, another 10 minutes. Salt to taste. Add the cilantro, garam masala, pumpkin seeds and chiles (if using).

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