THIS IS A RICHLY FLAVOURED, TRADITIONAL DISH FROM THE PUNJAB REGION OF NORTHERN INDIA. IT IS COOKED UNTIL THE SAUCE IS VERY THICK AND FAIRLY DRY AND THE DISTINCTIVE FLAVOURS OF THE LAMB AND ENGLISH SPINACH HAVE BLENDED TO FORM A SMOOTH, UNIFIED WHOLE. IT CAN BE SERVED WITH EITHER RICE OR BREADS.
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- Dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan over medium– high heat for 2– 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Allow to cool. Using a mortar with a pestle, or a spice grinder, crush or grind to a powder.
- Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish over low heat and fry a few pieces of meat at a time until browned. Remove from the dish. Add more oil to the dish, if necessary, and fry the onion, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and bay leaves until the onion is lightly browned. Add the cumin and coriander, garam masala, turmeric and paprika and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the meat, ginger, garlic, yoghurt and 425 ml (15 fl oz) water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. At this stage, most of the water should have evaporated. If it hasn' t, remove the lid, increase the heat and cook until the moisture has evaporated.
- Cook the spinach briefly in a little simmering water until it is just wilted, then refresh in cold water. Drain thoroughly, then finely chop. Squeeze out any extra water in the spinach. Add the spinach to the lamb and cook for 3 minutes, or until the spinach and lamb are well mixed and any extra liquid has evaporated.
Amaranth is a leafy vegetable cultivated for both its leaves and seeds. There are many types but the ones grown for eating are commonly known as green and red amaranth. The leaves have a slightly pungent flavour and are used in the same way as spinach, either raw in salads, in stir-fries and curries, or as an ingredient in soups. Amaranth is best used on the day of purchase as the leaves become limp quickly. Amaranth seeds, which are very high in protein, are used in soups and cereals, or ground to make a gluten-free flour.