Mark Hix recipe: Lamb, tomato and asparagus curry

Serves 4

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Although their textures are completely different, when it comes to flavour, I often think asparagus is quite similar to okra – so, to my mind, it is not too much of a leap to use asparagus in a curry.

600g neck or shoulder of lamb, cut into 2cm chunks
4tbsp vegetable or corn oil, or ghee
2tsp fenugreek seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
1tbsp fenugreek leaves
1tsp cumin seeds
½tsp caraway seeds
1tsp nigella seeds
1tsp turmeric
1tsp mustard seeds
The black seeds from 10 cardamom pods
2tsp ground cumin
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A small piece of root ginger, scraped and finely grated
A good pinch of saffron
½tbsp tomato purée
500ml beef or chicken stock
A handful of curry leaves
4-5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
8-10 asparagus spears, cooked
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A handful of coriander, roughly chopped, and some more leaves of your choice to garnish.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the dry curry spices, and cook on a low heat for a minute or so, stirring as the spices cook. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, saffron and curry leaves and continue cooking on a low heat for 3-4 minutes, with a lid on, until soft.

Add the tomato purée and stir well, then add the stock, bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a little more vegetable oil in a frying pan, season the lamb and fry on a high heat for a few minutes until nicely browned.

Blend one-third of the sauce in a liquidiser, until smooth, then return to the pan with the lamb and simmer for about an hour or until the meat is tender.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes, then slice the asparagus thickly on the angle and add to the curry with the coriander. Simmer for a few minutes, then season to taste, if necessary, and serve with basmati rice.

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