Lamb Curry from the Woodfired Oven – a Fabulous First Class Railway Mutton Curry
Spices and woodfired cooking are a match made in heaven – there’s something about cooking over fire that really brings out the flavours of the toasted spices in your cooking. The smells and flavours of this awesome lamb curry bring back memories of our own travels in India – we’re really looking forward to returning for more foodie adventures when we can.
This curry is a slow-cooked dish of lamb with a rich sauce incorporating ghee, coconut milk, peanut butter, yoghurt and spices. The title says mutton but we’re using lamb and traditionally it would have been goat – they all work, so use whatever you have to hand or is for sale at the butchers.
We’re using the oven as a hob and as an oven in this recipe – the first bit is done on a Tuscan grill over embers to fry the onions, spices etc before slow cooking the curry in the oven. Tuscan grills available in our shop if you are in the UK.
Legend has it that this dish was created on the Inidan railways for a traveller looking for something to eat during the night; he tried some of the chef’s own food but finding it too hot, the chef adding the calming coconut milk which toned down the chillies’ fieriness and brought out the flavours of the spices. A winner!
Check out the video here to see how David cooks it in the woodfired oven – he’s using our Bushman Santorini oven which holds the heat really well but gives instructions for using a metal woodfired oven with less insulation. And if you don’t have a woodfired oven, no problem – start everything off on the hob and then put in your regular oven at around 150C for 2-3 hours.
Lamb curry seems to be one of those dishes that hits the nail on the head for so many people – so we hope this one will too! Remember to start the day before so the lamb has time to marinate.
Ingredients – for 4-6
800g diced lamb – we used shoulder
Marinade – 2 heaped tbsp Greek yoghurt, 3cm root ginger, peeled and grated; 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed; 1tsp chilli powder; 1tsp ground turmeric
50g ghee – we used the ghee from Happy Butter Ghee
20 dried curry leaves
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
50g peanut or almond butter
5 cloves garlic, peeled
3cm root ginger, peeled
3 dried Kashmiri chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
2tsp garam masala
1tbsp ground coriander
2tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes (200g)
Lamb or beef or chicken stock
2 fresh green chillies
1 tin coconut milk – full fat
1tbsp tamarind paste
3-5 Mississippi, 3 at first and then cooler for the slow cooking; good bed of embers to start off
A few small sticks of kiln dried wood to create a new fire at the end to reduce the sauce
- Mix the marinade ingredients together and stir in the lamb. Mix well, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
- Drain the Kashmiri chillies and scoop out any seeds. Put them in a blender with the 5 cloves garlic and the piece of root ginger and blend to a paste with 50ml fresh water.
- Melt the ghee in the casserole and add the chopped red onions and curry leaves. Put the casserole on the Tuscan grill over the embers to fry the onions until just softening.
- Stir in the chilli/ginger/garlic paste with the peanut butter and then cook on the Tuscan grill until thick.
- Stir in the dried spices and cook for another minute or so until aromatic.
- Add the marinated lamb with the marinade along with the tinned tomatoes, the fresh green chillies and enough stock to cover. Season well with salt. Put the lid on the pan and put it on the Tuscan grill in the oven with the door shut. Leave to braise slowly for 2 hours or until the meat is completely tender.
- Stir in the coconut milk and the tamarind paste and put back in the oven on the grill over a small bed of embers. You’ll probably have to create a small fire for this as there won’t be any heat left after 2 hours or more of slow cooking.
- Put the pan back on the grill and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the sauce until it is thickened – like double (heavy) cream.
- Serve with rice or flatbreads with a garnish of flaked almonds, chopped tomatoes and chopped fresh green chillies and a squeeze of lime at the end to perk things up.
- Leave the peanut butter and flaked almonds out if you don’t eat nuts.
- Use mutton or goat instead of lamb.
- Vary the cut of meat you use – shoulder, shanks, breast, neck all work well; whatever needs long slow cooking
- The curry freezes really well so sometimes we make double the amount and then freeze half for when we fancy a curry but don’t have time to make one.
- Delicious with a cool beer, an IPA would be perfect. We love this one from our friends at Brew 61.