Originally from Kashmir, this fragrant rich dish was quickly adopted by Mogul cooks and has remained a firm favorite in northern India ever since. A Kashmiri natural dye called rattanjog originally provided the characteristic red color, but chili powder and tomato paste provide a more readily available and less expensive/dramatic alternative in this recipe. I am cooking this for Scottie tonight. If he didn't by tomorrow, he'd be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy!
Cooking this dish is easy and more fun than you'd think.
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 tsp ground asafetida (dissolved in 2tbsp water)
1-1/2 lbs boneless leg of lamb (trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes)
2 tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
2 tbsp ghee (vegetable oil or peanut oil)
1 1/2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp garam massala (to taste)
Put the yogurt in a large bowl and stir in the dissolved asafetida (get this from your local indian grocery store).
Add the lamb and use your hands to rub in all the marinate, then set aside for 30 minutes (at least)
Meanwhile, put the tomatoes and onion in a food processor or blender and process until blended.
Melt the ghee in a flameproof caserole or large skillet with tight-fitting lid. Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir until the aromas are released.
Stir in the tomato mixture, tomato paste, bay leaves, coriander, chili powder, and tumeric, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes.
Add the lamb and salt with any leftover marinate and stir for 2 minutes.
Cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer and stirring occasionally for 30 minutes (the lamb should give off enough moisture to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the skillet, but if the sauce looks too dry, stir in a little water).
Sprinkle with the garam masala, re-cover the skillet, and continue simmering for 20 minutes until the lamb is tender.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Tips: For authentic flavor, search out the bright red Kashmiri chili powder sold in Indian stores (if you are reading this in San Francisco, go to Bombay Bazaar on 16th & Valentcia to get this Red Kashmiri Chili Powder and the Asafetida)