With the temperature outside struggling to reach the heady heights of -2C, the heat and warmth of a good Indian curry has never felt more appropriate.
Start with 800g to a kilo of cubed lamb or mutton, preferably off the bone, but if you can cope with the fiddliness of a few bones in your curry, you’ll be rewarded with an extra layer of flavour.
Add a teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander and turmeric, and between a quarter and one teaspoon of chilli powder. Crush a couple of cloves of garlic to a pulp and grate and mince a tablespoon of fresh, peeled ginger and add these to the meat as well.
Mix everything together thoroughly and set to one side for a few hours so that the spices can work their way into the meat. The lamb will be all the better if it marinades overnight.
Heat a generous glug of vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of sugar, followed straight away by four onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced. Stir the onions constantly until they turn a deep brown colour. Keep the flame medium high, but don’t let them burn, just keep them moving all the time and control the heat to stop them catching.
Next, add the lamb and stir so that it browns gently, about five or ten minutes
Follow this with four large potatoes, peeled and quartered. Stir and fry for another five minutes, then add just under two teaspoons of salt and half a pint of water.
Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat. Leave the curry to cook for an hour and ten minutes, stirring it very gently a couple of times during this time.
The onions will dissolve into the gravy, thickening it. The potatoes will drink in the spices, and should keep their shape, maybe losing their edges a little.
Finish the curry with three quarters of a teaspoon of garam masalla and serve with rice.
The curry is spicy, but not overpoweringly hot, the heat tempered by the potatoes and melting onions.
It’s quite delicious.
This is one of the peerless Madhur Jaffrey’s recipes, from A Taste of India.