Chaamp Masala (Lamb Chops Masala)
Madhur Jaffrey’s Flavours of India
This rich, flavoursome dish originates in the fertile Punjab, a state now divided between India and Pakistan. There is nothing more important to a Punjabi man’s diet than bread, and meals are accompanied by flat round cornbread rotis or rich, flaky pan-fried paratha layered with ghee (clarified butter). Rice is reserved for special occasions or for rice pudding, for the only food that makes a Punjabi feel he has eaten a proper meal is his bread! You of course, can serve this dish with plain boiled rice.
3 in piece of fresh ginger peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tbsps peeled and coarsely chopped garlic
6-8 lamb chops from the ribs, remove all extra fat
8 fl oz grated or finely chopped tomatoes
2 medium sized onions very finely chopped
1 tbsp cayenne
12 fl oz Greek yoghurt beaten
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
1-2 tsps Punjabi garam masala
3 tbsps lemon juice
2-3 tbsps chopped fresh green coriander
Put the ginger and garlic into the container of an electric blender with 2-3 tablespoons of water and blend to a paste. Put the chops, tomatoes, onions, cayenne pepper, yoghurt, salt and ginger-garlic paste into a large wok or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes or until the chops are almost cooked. Add the cumin seeds and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat is tender and the sauce thick. Add the garam masala and lemon juice and stir. Sprinkle fresh coriander over the top and serve.
In the Punjab, tomatoes are grated to make a puree. Don’t be tempted to use ready-prepared tomato puree instead of fresh. The spice combinations in garam masala vary in different parts of India. In the Punjab this one which you can try making yourself is common: 5 tbsps coriander seeds, 3 tbsps cumin seeds, 2 1/2 tbsps black peppercorns, 2 1/2 black cardamom seeds, 2 in cinnamon stick, 4-5 cloves, 1/6 nutmeg. Put the coriander and the cumin into a cast-iron frying-pan over a medium heat. Stir until lightly roasted. Allow to cool. Grind with the remaining ingredients in a clean coffee grinder and store in a tightly lidded jar.