Lamb Dopiaza

Dopiaza was the first Indian curry I remember eating as a child in the Ganges Restaurant in Newtownards. During the mid 90’s I wasn't exactly enamoured with Indian food and would beg my parents for a McDonalds in Dundonald en route to Ards most Friday evenings. I don’t recall them ever giving in to my demands, thankfully, as my appreciation for Indian food started to progress from solely naan bread to naan bread & Dopiaza. The large quantities of onions in the dish gives the curry a natural sweetness and with no chilli it’s a great option to prepare for kids.

I used Lamb Rump in this dish which is my favourite cut of lamb at present. When braised low and slow in a gravy the rump breaks down producing succulent and tender morsels of lamby goodness. The fat content of a rump also renders down and adds to the richness of the curry.

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SWANKINGREDIENTS

Serves 4

For the spice mix

  • Black Cardamon 3

  • Cloves 4

  • Black Pepper 1 Teaspoon

  • Tumeric 0.5 Teaspoon

  • Cumin 0.5 Teaspoon

  • Ground Coriander 1 Teaspoon

  • Garam Masala 2 Teaspoons

  • Fenugreek 1 Teaspoon

  • Cinnamon 0.5 Teaspoon

  • Chilli Powder 2 Teaspoons

For the main body of the dish

  • Lamb (Neck/Shoulder/Leg) off the bone

  • Ghee 3 Tablespoons

  • White onions 5

  • Garlic cloves 5

  • Tinned Tomatoes 1

  • Tomato Puree 1 Tablespoon

  • Chicken Stock Pot 2

  • Juice of 1 Lemon

  • Water 500ml

 

METHOD

1. Cooking a Dopiaza starts the same way as the majority of curries, by chopping onions. So roughly chop 5 onions and place them into a large saucepan with 2 tablespoons of melted ghee. Fry on a medium to low heat for about 15 minutes until they caramalise then add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. This is probably the most crucial part of the cooking process as the long slow caramelisation of the onions gives the dish a great depth of flavour. You are aiming for the onions to be a dark brown colour.

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2. To the fried onions add the spice mixture and combine with the onions. On a very low heat continually stir the spiced onion mixture ensuring the spices don’t catch.

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3. Chop the lamb into cubes around 1 inch thick and place into a screaming hot cast iron pan with 1 tablespoon of ghee. You want to sear the meat which will add another rich depth of flavour to the curry. In a hot pan, this should take around 5 minutes.

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4. Add the tomato puree to the spiced onion mixture and cook for one minute before adding the seared lamb.

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5. The last step of assembling the curry is too add the liquid ingredients in the tomato puree, chicken stock pots, the juice of 1 Lemon and 500ml water. I also like adding some chopped coriander before reducing the curry as this imparts a freshness to the dish.

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6. Reduce the curry for around 1 hour on low heat ensuring to stir every 15 minutes or so. After 1 hour the lamb should be super tender and the sauce rich with great depth of flavour.

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7. I served with basmati rice and naan bread and garnished with a touch of fresh coriander.

Hope you enjoy,

Paul