I love curry, but takeway, restaurant and ready Indian meals can be heavy on the oil and the calories. Here is an adapted Rogan Josh, with reduced fat. If you are missing one of the spices, substitute by adding a little more of the others. For an even healthier dish add more vegetables and lentils. I usually cook brown basmati rice mixed with bulgur wheat and quinoa and a handful of red lentils if not using elsewhere in the meal. I buy my poppadums from the local Middle Eastern Shop and “pop” them in the microwave rather than the deep fat fryer.
Lamb Rogan Josh (serves 2 hungry people)
1 dried chilli
1″ cinnamon stick
10 cardamom pods
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
1tbs sunflower oil
1lb lamb any joint cubed (I used left over roast)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
100ml low fat yoghurt (I used crème fraiche)
½ tin tomatoes – chopped (or use fresh or a mix)
1″ ginger finely grated (I use a microplane)
Vegetables – use whatever is to hand (I used peppers and spring onions)
Dry fry the whole spices until aromatic and then grind either in an electric coffee grinder* or in a pestle and mortar. (If any of your spices are already ground just add to the sauce later along with the cayenne and paprika.)
Add the oil to the pan, fry the lamb until browned and remove (if using uncooked meat). Fry the onion and garlic until browning, add the freshly ground spices, cayenne and paprika. Fry for another minute. Add the yoghurt one spoon at the time, then the chopped tomatoes and bay leaves, grate the ginger into the sauce. Add the lamb back to the curry along with any vegetables, stir, cover and cook for 30 for mins.
Serve with rice, poppadums and banana chutney.
The curry is far better made the day before and left for 24 hours to allow flavours to develop and mingle. For a healthier dish add a handful of red lentils and equal volume of water along with the tomatoes. Leave the meat out or use chicken or beef. If using seafood or fish add to the curry 5 mins before serving as these need less cooking.
* Fuss Free Tip: To clean the grinder wipe it out with a dry piece of kitchen paper and then grind a spoon of rice, discard and wipe again. This dilutes and gets rid most of the lingering flavours. Why no one has ever made an electric grinder which has removable and dishwasherable working parts I do not know.