Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Farah's Indian Lamb

We love Indian food.  Regrettably, and despite the burgeoning local food scene, we have not found a really good, authentic Indian restaurant in Philly.  (Recommendations welcome.)  Happily, we have several Indian friends who are marvelous cooks and we make it a point to appear at their dining tables on a regular basis in order to enjoy this favorite cuisine.

We've featured Farah Kapoor before; she's our go-to girl for Indian recipes, and we couldn't very well showcase lamb without a curry. 

 So here, in all its glory, is Farah's Lamb Rendang.  (See cook's notes and ingredient sources below.)
Lamb Rendang Recipe (Spicy Lamb Curry)


Crock Pot


1 1/2 lbs boneless leg of lamb (or any other stewing meat), cut into cubes
7 tablespoons oil
1/4 piece turmeric leaf (optional), thinly shredded
10 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 2-inch length
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut, lightly toasted
2 small sized potatoes (optional), peeled, and cut into bite-size
salt and sugar to taste

Spice Paste:

3 tablespoons oil
10 dried red chilis, soaked in warm water and seeds removed
5 fresh red chilis, seeds removed
2 stalks lemongrass (white part only), lightly smashed
7 shallots, or 1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1/2-inch ginger, peeled
1/2-inch galangal  peeled (if not available, skip and double amt of ginger)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 candlenut OR 4 cashews, lightly smashed
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar


1. Plug in the crock pot/slow cooker and turn setting to High. Blend all Spice Paste ingredients in a food processor until fine. Scoop out, and set aside. Season lamb cubes with a little salt and put aside.

2. In a wok, heat up oil, stir-fry turmeric leaf and kaffir lime leaves until fragrant.

3. Turn heat to slightly medium-high, add blended Spice Paste, stir-fry until fragrant, or until color changes for 5 minutes.

4. Put in lamb cubes, stir well and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

5. Pour in coconut milk and toasted coconut and bring to a quick boil. Turn off heat and move all pre-cooked contents from wok into crock pot and braise for 1 1/2 hours.

6. Remove pot cover, stir and check to make sure the dish is not too dry and the lamb is tender enough to your liking.

7. Mix in potatoes, cover pot, and continue cooking for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender enough. Turn off heat. Unplug crock pot and allow the dish to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The sauce will slowly evaporate, and may appear slightly dry and thickened. The Lamb Rendang is ready to dish up. Serve with steamed white rice or coconut rice.

Cook’s Notes:

You may substitute coconut milk for yogurt, milk, evaporated milk or other dairy products, however it will alter the taste of an authentic Rendang.

Desiccated coconut may be replaced with a two tablespoons of coconut milk.

Rendang tastes better when served the next day. If possible, store some overnight in refrigerator.

If you have trouble finding ingredients, we recommend a trip to one of the Indian Grocers in West Philly.  International Food and Spices at 42nd and Walnut (closed Tuesdays) or Dana Mandi Asian Spice at 42nd and Chestnut are both excellent sources. 

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