During mango and lemon seasons, most Indian housewives put up pickles in their mataman, an earthenware pickling pot. Hemant Oberoi of Varq at the Taj Mahal Hotel ingeniously uses his pot, custom-made to absorb high heat, to cook this outstanding curry and infuse the lamb with pickle flavor. Spicy Italian pickled peppers are a great alternative to mango pickles.
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1/4 cup canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, plus 1 teaspoon julienned ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 pound trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons minced oil-packed hot chiles, such as cherry peppers
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 small jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Steamed basmati rice and warm naan, for serving
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 325°. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the minced ginger and the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the paprika, coriander and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds. Add the lamb cubes and cook, stirring, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes and minced chiles to the casserole and simmer over moderate heat until barely tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir the julienned ginger, cilantro, jalapeño and garam masala into the casserole. Cover and bake for about 45 minutes, until the lamb is very tender. Serve the curry with basmati rice and naan.
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