- 400 grams lamb shoulder (cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks, can substitute lamb stew meat)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large tomatoes (diced) - if none available use a tin but drain some sauce to add during cooking instead of water
- 1 heaped tablespoon of tomato purée
- 2 large onions (peeled and chunks)
- 2 tablespoons garlic paste (if no paste available peel half a garlic bulb - about 6 cloves - and add to onions before blitzing and cooking
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste (if no paste available peel a good inch of ginger root and add to onions before blitzing and cooking
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder - or use fresh chillies finely chopped - to taste. If using fresh, try and use a small dark red chili (or more) for some chili heat and a large green one for freshness and taste
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
- Garnish with chopped coriander
- Heat the cooking oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat.
- Grind the onions in a food processor - add the garlic cloves if not doing paste.
- When hot, add the onions/garlic.
- Sauté till the onions begin to turn a pale golden brown add a teaspoon or two of milk to prevent the onions burning but let them turn a slightly darker colour.
- Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain. Turn off heat.
- Grind the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, and ginger pastes together in the food processor to a smooth paste.
- Remove from processor.
- Reheat the oil left over from frying the onions and add the reserved onion paste. Sauté for two to three minutes.
- Add the cooked tomato mixture, coriander, cumin, turmeric, red chili powder (or fresh chilies) and garam masala powder. Then mix well.
- Sauté the resulting masala (onion-tomato-spice mixture) until the oil begins to separate from it. This can take up to 10 minutes.
- Now add the lamb pieces to the masala, season with salt to taste, and stir to fully coat the lamb pieces with the masala. Sauté until the lamb is browned well.
- Add 1/2 cup of hot water to the pan and stir to mix well.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the pan.
- Cook until the lamb is tender.
- Stir regularly and add more water as needed to prevent it drying up.
- The dish should have a fairly thick gravy when done.
- When the lamb is cooked the dish should have a thick gravy.
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with chapatis, naans or plain boiled rice.
For a creamy version of the dish, marinate the lamb in a mixture of yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Place in a zippered plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight to tenderise and flavour the meat.
To make the sauce a creamy tikka masala, add 1/2 cup heavy cream to the sauce for the last 10 minutes of simmering.
Do not add cream to make a better curry style masala. Yes, I said DO NOT add cream - masalas should be savoury and oily - not like Cream of Tomato Soup!