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.

Jamie Oliver’s Arrosto Misto with Gravy

Serves: 8

This is a really cool roast, bringing together two meats – lamb and duck – and roasting them side by side.

Cool right?

Better still, the gravy that is produced as part of the process is rich and flavoursome and it really is a pillar unto itself in the meal.

The last time I served this up, I served it with pan-fried parmesan polenta and pan sautéed asparagus with balsamic.

Next time, I’d try a cabbage gratin to cut through the richness of the roast; perhaps some buttered beans.

Whatever you serve this with, people will know it is going to be special and that means they’ll bring better wines to dinner.

Cool right?

Right.

Ingredients

4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
2 red onions, roughly chopped
A head of garlic broken into cloves
A few bay leaves
A small bunch of fresh rosemary separate into sprigs
1.5kg shoulder of lamb
Olive oil
Bottle of red wine (750ml)
1 large (2kg) free-range or organic duck
1 thumb sized piece of ginger
2 tbs of flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c.
  2. Divide the chopped vegetables, garlic cloves and bay leaves between two roasting pans. Scatter half the rosemary over the vegetables in one pan, retaining the other half of the rosemary for stuffing in the duck.
  3. Season the lamb shoulder and duck and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Slice the ginger and stuff inside the duck with the remaining rosemary.
  5. Place the lamb on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan with the rosemary, and the duck on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan without the rosemary. Pour a third of the wine over the lamb, a third of the wine over the duck, retaining a third for the gravy.
  6. Place the lamb in the oven for two hours, checking periodically to see if it is drying out. If so, add a little water; this is important as the vegetables in the lamb roasting dish will make the gravy and so must be moist.
  7. After two hours of cooking, add the duck to the oven and cook for a further two hours. After four hours, the meat should be falling off the bone of the lamb and the duck will be golden and cooked.
  8. Remove the meat from the oven and set aside covered in foil. Add the remaining wine and flour to the sauce and vegetables in the lamb’s roasting pan, and place the roasting pan directly over a medium heat, stirring to combine into gravy. Try to mash up the vegetables. Do not use the duck’s roasting dish for the gravy as it will be too fatty.
  9. Shred the meats and combine on a platter. Serve the gravy in a bowl.

Kofta b’siniyah

With a glass of Pinot and a salad at the side, this is seriously heaven.
With a glass of Pinot and a salad at the side, this is seriously heaven.

Serves 6

This recipe is from a book called ‘Jerusalem’ (Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi), bringing together recipes from the city; east and west. The book was a birthday present from our great friends, Woodles and Billy and they swear by it. After cooking this recipe, I do too.

This dish stood out immediately for two reasons.

Firstly, I love mince and anything to do with mince.

Secondly, it was a different sort of mince recipe than I had cooked before; mainly the use of the warmed tahini as a base and the burnt butter whilst serving.

What is really grabbing about it, is the presentation; it is beautiful and dramatic and perfect for a simple Sunday lunch with friends. I served it with a warm potato salad, though it would be well served with a salad of cucumber and tomato and some pita bread at the side.

Ingredients

150gm light tahini paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
120ml water
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
30gm of unsalted butter (or ghee)
Sweet paprika to garnish
Salt
Chopped flat-leaf parsley

Kofta

400gm minced lamb
400gm minced veal or beef
1 small onion
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
50gm toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra whole ones to garnish
30gm finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground allspice
¾ tsp grated nutmeg
1½ ground black pepper
1½ tsp salt

Method

  1. Put all the kofta ingredients in a bowl and using your hand, mix well together.
  2. Shape the koftas into long, torpedo-like fingers, roughly 8cm long. Press the mix to compress it and ensure the kofta is tight and keeps it shape. Set aside and refrigerate for up to a day.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt; the sauce should be a bit runnier than honey and add one or two tablespoons of water if it is not.
  5. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan (I used a griddle) and sear the kofta over a high heat; do this in batches so they are not cramped. Sear them on all sides until they are golden brown; around six minutes per batch. At this point they should be medium rare.
  6. Transfer the kofta to an oven tray and spoon the tahini sauce around the koftas. Place in the oven for a few minutes, both to cook the koftas a bit further (2 – 4 minutes depending on your preference) and to warm the sauce.
  7. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to brown a little ensuring it doesn’t burn.
  8. Spoon the butter over the koftas as soon as they come out of the oven; scatter with pine nuts and parsley and finely sprinkle paprika on top.