This is Mary Berry’s recipe, demonstrated on television in 2014 and widely available online. Lentils are an affordable ingredient that add substance and a ‘healthy’ veneer to the dish. Although I haven’t yet experimented with a vegetarian adaptation, you could presumably do this by replacing the beef stock with vegetable stock and using a firm tofu or quorn instead of the lamb. The tomato relish is a delicious accompaniment, alongside raitha which features whenever we have an Indian meal.
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1kg diced lamb (shoulder or leg, or a mixture)
2 onions, diced
25g fresh ginger root, peeled but left whole
4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
10 green cardamom pods
1½ tablespoons ground cumin
1½ tablespoons ground coriander
½ tablespoon ground turmeric
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
200ml beef stock – from a cube is fine
75g dried red lentils
3 tablespoons clear honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan. Add half the lamb and fry until browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, then brown the other half of the lamb and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the onions and fry for 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Meanwhile, place the ginger, garlic and chilli in a small food processor and whiz until finely chopped.
- Bash the cardamom pods with the end of a rolling pin to split the husks, then remove the seeds and grind them to a fine powder using a pestle and mortar. Add to the pan along with the remaining spices and the garlic and ginger mixture.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, along with the lamb. Bring to the boil, then cover and place in the oven to simmer for 1-2 hours until tender. Check the seasoning and serve.
Fresh tomato relish
1 red onion, finely chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
juice of ½ lemon
½ red chilli, chopped
To skin the tomatoes place in a bowl, cover with boiling water and wait for 1 minute. Cut a slit in each tomato (the skin should loosen immediately), then drain the water and peel the tomatoes. Halve them and remove the small white/green core, followed by the seeds. Chop. Mix all the ingredients together and chill before serving.