Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spicy Lamb in Almond Milk

Last night I was free to really cook for the first time in what felt like ages of finals and other my buddy Nate and I whipped this together for a group of hungry friends:

Badami Elachi Gosht (Spicy Lamb in Almond Milk)
Leg of lamb braised in a rich and spicy almond cream sauce, steeped with cardamom and cinnamon, topped with slivered almonds, a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

(doesn't the Hindi name sound so much more "exotic" than it's translation?)

We served it with a traditional tomato-onion relish and...

Saffron and Golden Raisin Chalau
topped with ground pistachio

Yum! The curry was deliciously rich and an interesting change from my usual psuedo-healthy Afghan qorma. Afghans (as far as I have experienced) never use cream in their "curries", which they call "qormas". The typical base is tomato or sometimes yogurt. "Quoroot" (pronunced "Koo-root") is a favorite delicacy I have never gotten a chance to try: salted yogurt set to dry in the sun into small pebble size balls. These are then reconstituted in soups and qormas! Really it was never a delicacy, but merely a method of food preservation, but like the French "confit" and Italian-American "sun-dried tomatoes", the ancient necessary technique becomes an expensive modern delicacy. Though I also have no idea where I could buy "quoroot" in the US...

Anyway, back to the curry! It was from a recipe in my Cooking With Herbs and Spices cookbook. It was also interesting in the way the base of the sauce was blended together first, including the onions and almonds, and then reduced in the pan over a medium flame, which means the onions never were explicitly sauteed, a shocking shift for me. The result was a clean, nearly white sauce. The lamb made it a bit brown but the cream lightened it once again. The pictures have a yellow tint, but that has more to do with the lighting - the final product was just off-white.

The chalau was a simple concoction based on what I've cooked before, but I really like the use of golden raisins rather than regular since the color fit better with the white curry. I was restrained with the saffron, so it left only a mild speckle of yellow and a subtle flavor rather than an explosion of saffron. I wanted to complement the curry, not overpower it.

For dessert, we had delicious mango sorbet from Trader Joe's - if they have it at your local TJ's, pick it up, it's amazing! We blended frozen berries together with cream and drizzled it over for an added effect - Nate's very delicious idea!

1 comment:

Farhad Azad said...

I love your blog. I would love to see you cook up more Afghan dishes.

I'm Afghans and resides in Norther CA. If you're looking for qoorut, I can send you some.

I too love food, and I want to create some modern Afghan dishes, which I think our food needs to be modernized a little-- everyone else has modernized their food, why not us?

Happy Cooking!