Lamb Curry Kofte with Ginger Pilaf and Curry-leaf oil

Serves: 4

Don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t a great, great curry and rice.

Because it is.

So much so that even with recent meals at Sydney’s excellent Indu restaurant; Malabah and Dhakshin at Crows Nest, both institutions… you really just can’t beat an amazing home-cooked curry.

Indeed, following the Covid Crisis in Sydney, we really have changed our take on the restaurants that are worth it.

Cheap and cheerful pizza and Thai, yes, though anything in the mid-range that we can equal and beat, why do it?

Because this curry is so warm, so aromatic, you simply could not imagine a world where you had it served at any Indian restaurant in Sydney.

They could do it, though they don’t.

The curry leaves flash-fried in the ghee are just amazing.

So is the pilaf.

One of the very best I have ever had. Not exaggerating.

We have always loved a home-cooked long-lunch or a cracking dinner: three months locked up have accelerated this.

Paired with a beautifully, sublime curry like this Ajoy Joshi Chicken Curry or this Christine Mansfield 100 Almond Curry, people’s head’s will explode.

Restaurants have buzz, so pour your wine freely, turn up the music and make that same buzz.

Dining out just got a lot more homely.

P.S. Fresh turmeric can be found at any good fruit and veg shop.

Ingredients

Curry

2 tbsp ghee
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 cup each (firmly packed) coriander and mint
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 tsp finely grated fresh turmeric
3 long green chillies, chopped
2 long green chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250hm thick plain Greek yoghurt
3 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ground garam masala
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 c chicken stock
600gm minced lamb
Juice 1/2 lemon (to taste)

Ginger Pilaf

1 tbsp ghee
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp finely grated fresh turmeric
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 c chicken stock
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Curry-leaf oil

2 tbsp ghee
1 long green chilli, de-seeded and thinly sliced
2-3 fresh curry leaf sprigs

Method

Curry

  1. Heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onions and sauté until soft.. Add the fennel seeds for a minute. (10 minutes.)
  2. Process the whole coriander, mint, turmeric, the chopped chillies, half the ginger and half the garlic in a food processor to a paste. Add the yoghurt and sautéed onion and process until smooth. Return to the pan with half the spices and stir until fragrant (3 mins). Add stock, bring to a simmer and cook for the flavours to infuse (8 mins).
  3. Combine the lamb mince, finely chopped coriander and finely chopped chilli, remaining ginger, garlic and spices and season. Roll into golf ball-sized balls and add to the curry mixture. Simmer, turning the meatballs, until the sauce thickens. (You want a reasonably thick sauce.) Add the lemon juice and season to taste.

Pilaf

  1. For the pilaf, heat ghee in a saucepan over a medium heat; add the onion, ginger, turmeric and garlic and sauté until tender. Add rice, stir to coat, add the stock, season to taste and bring to the boil stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook without 9for 15 minutes.

  1. Remove from the heat, remove lid, place a clean tea towel over pan a replace lid. Stand for 10 minutes, then add lemon rind and juice and fluff with a fork.

Curry-leaf oil

  1. Heat ghee in a small saucepan over a medium heat; add the chilli and cook until starting to become crisp (1 – 2 minutes). Add the curry leaves and remove from the heat.

  1. Serve the meatballs with the ginger pilaf and drizzled with curry-leaf oil.

Andhra Curry Leaf Chicken

Serves: 4

There is yet to be a Christine Manfield curry that hasn’t amazed and this one is no different.

It is moorish, spicy, colourful with a few layers of flavour, the cashew paste adding a wonderful creaminess at the end: we added more of the cashew paste than was asked and didn’t look back.

The real winner however – as Nat observed – is the fried curry leaves and the fun and flavour they add.

And it’s a simple dish. Marinate overnight, cook in under 30 minutes the next night.

I’ve written it many times, though the excitement for us in cooking Indian food is finding new flavours and styles. Christine does not let anyone down with this one.

Ingredients

1.2kg chicken thighs, cut into 4cm chunks
1/3 cup cashew paste
2 large dried red chillies
2 tbsp shredded curry leaves
2 tbsp fried curry leaves

Marinade

1 tsp chilli powder
1 large dried red chilli, broken into small pieces
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
3 tomatoes, chopped
150gm thick natural yoghurt

Method

  1. To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper in a bowl. Add chicken chunks, mixing to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes (or overnight).
  2. For the cashew paste, blend equal parts raw cashews and water in a food processor to make a thick, smooth paste.
  3. For the fried curry leaves, heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan to 170c and fry fresh batches of curry leaves for 20 seconds until their colour darkens. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  4. For the ginger and garlic paste, process equal parts garlic and ginger in a food processor with a little water until smooth.
  5. Tip the chicken and marinade into a large, non-stick frying pan. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 10 minutes or until the mixture is not too wet and the marinade has reduced and is coating the chicken.
  6. Stir in the cashew paste, chillies, 1 tsp salt and the shredded curry leaves and cook for another few minutes.
  7. Serve sprinkled with the fried curry leaves.