Someday I’m actually going to get myself to southern India. Until that day, I’m just going to have to experience India through its amazing food. This recipe was sent to me by my Twitter friend Nesan (@ttnesan). His family recipe called for mutton but I wasn’t able to get any on the day I wanted to make this. As it’s mid February, the British lamb I purchased was pretty close to being mutton anyway.
I was a bit sceptical before making this dish. I love coconut but the recipe called for small chunks of coconut in the sauce and I wasn’t sure how that would go down with a group of friends I had over for a curry feast. There wasn’t a spoonful left! Everyone loved this recipe and I will be making it again very soon.
I love the different textures. You’ve got the tender lamb which together with the crunchy coconut pieces makes the perfect combo.
I have since looked into pallipallayam curries and they tend to usually be made with chicken. I’m going to do that next. I’m telling you… if you want to try a curry that is delicious in every way, you’ve got to try this infamous dish from the town of Erode in Tamil Nadu.
I pressure-cooked the lamb as Nesan suggested which made cooking the dish a lot faster. You could also add the lamb pieces to the base masala, cover with a little water and simmer until tender.
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- 1 kilo (2 lbs) lamb or mutton leg chopped to small size
- 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil or coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 20 fresh curry leaves
- 3 red onions - finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 15 cherry tomatoes - quartered
- ½ coconut - meat removed and finely chopped
- 20 dried Kashmiri chillies - broken in half and seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Salt to taste
- Place the lamb in a pressure cooker and cook until tender. Mine only took 20 minutes and I covered the meat with about one litre of water.
- Heat the oils in a large wok or saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the curry leaves and fry until fragrant. This takes about 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, soft and lightly browned. Then add the garlic and ginger paste and stir it all up together.
- Stir in the turmeric and black pepper followed by the red chillies, coconut pieces and tomatoes. Mix it all up and top with the cooking stock from the stewed lamb.
- Reduce the stock by two thirds and then stir in the cooked meat. This is quite a dry curry.
- To serve, season with salt to taste and sprinkle the garam masala over the top.
Another idea: I changed Nesan’s recipe for ease as I was expecting a lot of people for dinner. In his recipe, the mustard seeds and curry leaves are tempered in six tablespoons of oil in a separate pan. Then this tempered oil is poured over the top just before serving.
Worth a mention: I used coconut oil supplied by my sponsor Cocofina. This wasn’t called for in the original recipe but I’m sure it added a nice flavour that is worth trying! You can get more information about Cocofina’s product range here.