Indian Banquet

A family staple. Growing up, every week without fail, I'd have a dinner very similar to this. For generations my forefathers lived in India, my great grandad was an orphan in Karachi Pakistan (at the time it was India). Over that period the cuisine has been adopted by my family. I don't know how traditional this dish is, it's just my rendition, it's very special to me and what a feast it is!

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Curry Paste

Ingredients

Brown Onions 2 large

Coriander stems and roots 1 bunch (don't add leaves!)

Garlic 3 giant cloves (6-8 standard)

Ginger 50g

Dried Chillies 8 (you could use fresh, it's just what I had) 

Garam Masala 2 tablespoons

Salt 2 tablespoons

Paprika Smokey 2 tablespoons (you could use sweet or hot, it's just what I had)

Turmeric Powder 1 tablespoon

Mustard Powder 1 Tablespoon

Cumin 1 Tablespoon

Coriander Seeds 1/2 tablespoon

Black Peppercorns 1/2 tablespoon

Ghee 50g

Method

Add ghee and diced onions into a pot and cook on low heat, this will take the most time, but is the most important. Have your heat low enough so you can just leave it and prepare other items. Place dried chillies into a bowl/cup of boiling water and let sit, or just dice up fresh chillies. Leave chillies for 5 minutes or so, then add to mortar and pestle and grind up (you could also add coriander seeds and peppercorns, I just left them whole). Turn up the heat to medium and add in all ingredients (microplane garlic and ginger). Fry for roughly 5 minutes, you may need to add more ghee to stop it sticking, don't let it burn on the bottom. I didn't add extra ghee, I ended up using half the water from the cup of chillies I was soaking. This recipe will make enough paste for 3-6 curries. I only used 2 1/2 tablespoons for 1kg of lamb.

Lamb Curry

Lamb Forequarter 1kg

Brown Onion 1

Coriander Leaves 1 bunch (no stems or roots)

Cloves 3-4

Bay leaves 3-4

Cardamom Pods 4-5

400g overripe tomatoes (you could use tinned)

Ghee 20g

Method

Place ghee and sliced onions in a pot and fry on low heat, take your time and let the onions caramelise well, carful not to burn. Temperature should be low enough that you can leave it for 15 minutes or so while you prepare other ingredients, stirring occasionally. In all honesty, if your rushed for time just skip this step and move onto the meat first. The curry paste does have the flavour of onions.

Roughly chop Lamb into large chunks, add bones and all into the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Fry the meat stirring often, until all sides are sealed, don't cook all the way through. Add 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of curry paste,  and fry for another 5 minutes. Add roughly chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, cardamom pods, a couple of black peppercorns and cloves. Fry for another 5 minutes. Then add some sort of stock or water until meat is just covered (I used salt reduced chicken stock). Turn the heat to low, place a lid on the pot and let sit for 30-60 minutes or until meat is tender. Once tender, turn the heat up and reduce the liquid down with the lid off until sauce is thick and rich. Season to taste if needed. Turn off the heat and stir in coriander leaves.

Cucumber Yogurt

Simple just add natural yogurt (I used natural greek) to diced or julienne cucumber (seeds removed). I also added a pinch of cumin.

Red onion salsa

Simple, finely dice red onion and chop up ripe but firm tomatoes and add a dash of brown vinegar.

Pea Rice

Basmati 

Peas Frozen

Cloves 3-4

Bay Leaves

Stock or Vegemite

Cinnamon Stick 1

Ghee

Brown onion 1/2

Salt

Method

Soak rice for about an hour, then place in a sieve, rinse with fresh water and allow to drain well, 10-15 minutes. Add diced onion and fry on low-medium heat until cooked. Add rice, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves for a couple of minutes, stirring. Then add stock, peas, salt and turn the heat to low (cover the rice with liquid, about 5mm), place a lid on top and allow to cook for 10 minutes or until water has evaporated. My mum often just uses vegemite and water instead of stock. 1 teaspoon on vegemite and water to desired level. Once done fork rice until fluffy and light.

Parathas

Ingredients

Plain self raising flour 1 cup

Wholemeal flour 1 cup

salt 1/2 teaspoon

Salted butter

Ghee

Water

Method

One flour needs to be wholemeal, the other plain and one needs to be self raising, whichever combo you have in the pantry. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until you have a dough. Just add enough water so it becomes a dough, not too wet, not too dry. Allow to sit in a bowl for an hour or so with a damp tea towel covering the bowl. Sprinkle some flour on your bench and hands, grab a chunk and roll it out, smear some room temperature butter in the middle (you could also add cheese, spinach etc.). Fold all the corners into the middle and then in half. Roll it out again. Place some ghee in a pan on high heat, add your paratha, turning often. To get a nice golden skin you can brush the top with more ghee. Cook until golden brown

Brinjal Pickle

Ingredients

Eggplant 1 large

Green Chillies 4-6

2 teaspoons curry powder or paste (don't use store bought curry powder, find a good spice trader) 

Salt 1 teaspoon

garlic 2 teaspoons

ginger 2 teaspoons

sugar 2 teaspoons

Vinegar white 3/4 cup 

Vegetable oil 1 cup 

Method

Cut the eggplant in 3cm (1 inch) pieces, cut the chillies into 6 pieces. Heat oil (high heat) and add ginger, garlic, curry paste, salt and sugar. Cook for 1 minute and add the eggplant and vinegar, turn the heat down. Cook gently, use a fork to test when eggplant has cooked through, oil should come to the top of the pickle. 

Dahl

Orange Lentils dried 1 cup

Brown onion 1/2

Turmeric 1/2 teaspoon

Salt

 

Method

Soak lentils for an hour, then rinse and drain until water runs clear. Fry onions on medium to high heat in vegetable oil (you could use ghee or butter) until dark, almost burnt. Remove onions and allow pan to cool down slightly. Add lentils to the pot, turmeric and cover well with water, about 1 cm. Simmer gently with the lid on, stirring occasionally until lentils are cooked, about 10 minutes. You may need to add more water, dahl should be runny. Whisk pot to break down the lentils a bit, season to taste. Serve and top with onions.