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 alternative in this recipe.
- 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoons ground asafetida, dissolved in 2 tbs water
- 1 lb 9 oz/700g boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cit into 2-inch/5-cm cubes
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tbs ghee, vegetable oil, or peanut oil
- 1 1/2 tbs garlic and ginger paste
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbs ground coriander
- 1/4-1 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
Put the yogurt in a large bowl and stir in the dissolved asafetida. Add the lamb and use your hands to rub in all the marinade, then set aside for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the tomatoes and onion in a food processor or blender and process until blended. Melt the ghee in a flameproof casserole or large skillet with a 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 turmeric, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes. Add the lamb and salt with any leftover marinade and stir for 2 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, 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 garam masala, re-cover the skillet, and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the lamb is tender. Serve immediately.
Tip: For the chili powder, look for the brightest Kashmiri chili powder in Indian markets.