Indian lamb with spiced lentils
6 black peppercorns
1 tbsp cumin seeds
8 cardamom pods, seeds from
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 cm (2 in) piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp turmeric
450 g (1 lb) lean boneless leg of lamb, or neck fillet, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
600 ml (1 pint) hot lamb stock, preferably home-made
225 g (8 oz) green lentils
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 lemon, juice of
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
salt and pepper
Crush the peppercorns with the cumin and cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar or an electric grinder.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes or until softened.
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for a further 3 minutes, then add the crushed spices and the cinnamon stick and turmeric.
Fry gently for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add the lamb and stir to coat with the spices.
Fry gently for about 4 minutes or until the meat is browned all over.
Gradually pour in the stock, stirring well, and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 1 hour or until the lamb is almost cooked and tender.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain the lentils, then place them in a saucepan and cover with fresh cold water.
Bring to the boil.
Boil uncovered for 15 minutes.
Add the lentils and tomatoes to the curry and cook for 15‚Äì20 minutes or until the lamb and lentils are tender.
Stir in the lemon juice and fresh coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Some more ideasIf it's more convenient, you can cook the curry in the oven.
In step 3, after bringing to the boil, cover the casserole and place it in a preheated 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4) oven.
Cook for 1 1/4 hours.
Add the lentils and tomatoes and cook for a further 20 minutes or until tender.
* Ethnic grocers and health food shops sell a wide range of lentils.
Any of them can be used, but check first whether they are best soaked before cooking, because you may need to plan ahead.
Red split lentils (masoor dhal) and split peas are a good choice because they do not need soaking.
* If you've no fresh tomatoes, use 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 225 g, with the juice.
Plus pointsLentils are an excellent source of dietary fibre and a good source of iron, as well as a useful source of vitamins B1 and B6.
In addition, an average portion normally provides almost 100% of the adult RNI for selenium (this can vary according to the soil in which the plant is grown).