Masala is a word of Indian origin, meaning mixture of spices. For instance, the term “garam masala” literally means a “hot mixture of spices”, and is a combination of ground roasted cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom, cloves, and other spices.
Prep: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 tablespoons of ghee* or 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 3 teaspoons mild paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons hot chili powder
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 inch (5cm) piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 x 26-28oz (750g) jar or can of crushed tomatoes or tomato purée
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup cashews, ground
- 10oz (300g) leftover roast lamb, coarsely shredded or sliced
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the ghee in a large, deep frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Now add the cumin, coriander, bay leaves, peppercorns, paprika, and chili powder while stirring. Cook for a couple of minutes longer until fragrant.
2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more seconds while stirring. Pour in the crushed or puréed tomatoes, cream and nuts. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and add the lamb. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
3. Serve hot over basmati rice with a crisp green salad on the side.
Variation: Stir in some fresh spinach or 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed, for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.
*Ghee is clarified butter that is used in Indian cooking. You will find it in specialty Asian markets and it will give your masala an authentic touch.