1.5kg/3lb5oz lamb shoulder, boned weight, cut into cubes
4tbsp medium Indian curry paste
2tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
generousknob of butter
2onions, halved then thinly sliced
400g/14ozcan chopped plum tomatoes
1tbsp tomato purée
300ml/½pint hot chicken or lamb stock
400g/14ozcan chickpeas, drained
125g/4½ozbaby leaf spinach, well washed
Place the diced lamb shoulder into a bowl or food bag. Mix in three tablespoons of curry paste and leave to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 24 hours in the fridge.
Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy based pan, then add the onions, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and the remaining tablespoon of curry paste. Fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are softened and starting to turn golden-brown.
Add the marinated lamb, and fry for a couple of minutes until the meat has changed colour - it doesn’t have to be browned.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and enough stock to cover most of the lamb, with the top pieces just poking clear of the liquid.
Add the chickpeas and bring the mixture up to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook gently for 1 – 1½ hours, until the lamb is very tender and the sauce is rich and thick.
Spoon away the excess fat that will have gathered on the top of the curry, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Add the spinach, stirring the spinach leaves into the curry until they wilt.
Serve the curry with your favourite rice, breads and chutneys.
Curry paste ingredients
3 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 or 2 dried chillies, depending on personal preference
1 tsp salt
thumb-size piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tbsp tomato purée
4 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
vegetable or sunflower oil, to cover the paste for storing
Put the seeds and peppercorns into a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Cook for about three minutes, stirring often, until the mustard seeds start to pop and the seeds turn golden and aromatic. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Add the turmeric, cinnamon, paprika and dried chillies to a pestle and mortar. Add the cooled toasted spices and grind everything together into a fine powder. Add the salt.
Add grated ginger, garlic, tomato purée and white wine vinegar and mix well to make a paste.
Use immediately, or spoon the paste into a jar, cover with a layer of oil, seal with a lid and store in the fridge for up to a week.