Lamb jalfrezi

Lamb jalfrezi is a very popular curry dish in the British curry houses. In British Indian restaurants and take away curry houses, you will find this dish - lamb jalfrezi. Lamb jalfrezi is a thick onion and tomato curry sauce prepared medium or spicy according to the order or taste of individuals. Additionally, bell peppers (capsicum), onions, green chillies and fresh tomatoes are added. Tomatoes are a must in jalfrezi curry to give its sweet and sour taste. In restaurants, they always prepare a basic curry sauce in advance, which they also use to prepare different kinds of dishes in order to serve the orders quickly. I have also prepared this basic curry sauce according to my taste - not to serve orders quickly but to get the restaurant style at home. From this basic curry sauce, you can prepare mutton bhuna, chicken bhuna, jalfrezi and sea food curries.

To prepare lamb jalfrezi, the first and most important thing is to use good tender meat on the bone, which will make the curry more flavourful and delicious. I have used lamb/mutton on the bone. They usually use boneless pieces in the restaurants for the customers, but the trick they have is to prepare a good stock that they use in the curry. I have cooked mutton/lamb curry separately (which is very easy to prepare) and added it to my basic curry sauce (need to prepare in advance) with additional spices and vegetables and cooked for few minutes. This results in a wonderful and aromatic jalfrezi dish. The mixing of the basic curry sauce and the prepared lamb curry gives the end product a thick texture and a good restaurant style curry consistency. Though this is the lamb jalfrezi curry, if the same curry is cooked for a few more minutes, the lamb jalfrezi curry sauce will become thicker and semi dry just enough to coat the lamb pieces and then it is called as lamb bhuna. I have served my mouth watering lamb jalfrezi with pulav made with nuts. You can also serve lamb jalfrezi with naan and jeera rice.

Preparation time: 15 mins (excluding the making of the basic curry)

Cooking time: 1 hour

Cuisine: British Indian

Serves: 2

Spiciness: Medium hot

Ingredients

    Lamb curry

  • Lamb / mutton (with bones) – 750 gms
  • Oil – 1/3 cup
  • Black cardamom - 1
  • Bay leaves (small) – 3
  • Cloves – 5
  • Green cardamoms – 5
  • Cinnamon stick (2 inch piece) – 1
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Onion (big, chopped) – 1
  • Tomato puree (double concentrated) – 2 tbsp
  • Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin powder – 2 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Salt - as per taste
  • For jalfrezi curry

  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Tomato puree (double concentrated) – 1 tbsp
  • Tomatoes (medium, chopped) – 1
  • Water – 1 1/4 cup
  • Basic curry – 1 3/4 cup
  • Kasoori methi – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Additional ingredients

  • Red bell pepper (cut into chunks) – 1
  • Onion (medium size, cut into chunks or squares) – 1
  • Ginger julienne – few or thumb size
  • Tomatoes (medium, cut into chunks) – 2
  • Green chillies (sliced) – 3
  • Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup
  • Lemon (cut into wedges) - 1
  • Salt - as per taste

Method

    Basic curry

  • Prepare basic curry in advance and keep it ready.
  • For lamb curry

  • Chop onion, keep aside.
  • I have used medium size lamb pieces with marrow bones and other bones, you can use boneless pieces.
  • Heat the pressure cooker. Add oil and whole spices like cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, black cardamom and let it sizzle for about 5 secs. Be careful, it can splutter on you.
  • Add chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste and lamb/mutton pieces, roast with onion in a medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes until it is light brown in colour.
  • Add chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, and mix. Sauté on a medium to low flame until the colour of the meat and oil changes to dark brown or red for 2 to 3 minutes. Avoid burning the spices.
  • Add tomato puree and mix well with the lamb. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of water, mix well and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Put the pressure cooker weight on and cook for up to 4 whistles until the sauce is cooked and lamb is just cooked as the lamb will be cooked further.
  • If cooking in a vessel, cook the meat until it is just cooked.
  • When lamb curry is cooked you can see that the curry has left oil on top and the curry gets a good colour and consistency. The curry sauce is approximately 1 1/2 cup or more. This is a simple (basic) lamb curry.
  • If you want, you can remove the whole spices and keep the curry ready to prepare lamb jalfrezi.
  • For lamb jalfrezi

  • Cut the vegetables into chunks or wedges or squares as served in restaurants. Use the quantity as per your requirement.
  • Heat the oil and butter in a medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let it splutter. Then add ginger and garlic paste and saute for about 10 seconds.
  • Add 1 3/4 cup of the basic curry sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Mix and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the prepared lamb curry with its sauce, salt, 1 tbsp tomato puree and 3/4 cup of water.
  • Cook for 5 minutes on medium flame, stir in between. Then simmer for about 40 minutes with the lid closed.
  • After 40 minutes, you can see that the lamb jalfrezi curry is almost like what you get in restaurants.
  • To give some final touches, add 2 big pinches of kasoori methi (rub in your palm first and then add to the curry), red bell pepper, onion, ginger julienne, tomatoes and sliced green chillies. Mix well.
  • Cook for about 3 mins on a medium flame. Then simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes with the lid closed.
  • At this stage you can add a few more wedges of tomatoes (optional) and chopped coriander leaves. You can add water if it gets too thick cook for a further 7 minutes on low flame or until it is as per your consistency you want.
  • In between shake the vessel slowly instead of using a spoon or very gently mix with the spoon. You can see the consistency of the lamb jalfrezi in the pictures.
  • You can garnish lamb jalfrezi with a few more ginger julienne, coriander leaves and lemon wedges beside the curry.
  • Serve with naan, chapathi (roti) or pulao or just plain rice.
  • I have served lamb jalfrezi with pulao made with nuts.

Notes

  • Even if there is no sauce and your lamb curry is semi dry, don’t worry as you can add water to the jalfrezi or use more of basic curry sauce for the gravy (don’t overcook the lamb when making the curry as it has to cook more for jalfrezi).
  • Boneless lamb is used in restaurants so that it is easy to eat. In few restaurants, it is served with bones as well. If you are preparing any lamb/mutton curry, always use the lamb with some fat like marrow bones (nalli in hindi), ribs which are juicy and delicate to eat with bones, etc. It make the curry more flavourful and delicious. It is always your choice.
  • If you like to have your vegetables to be crunchy, then add all the additional vegetables in the end and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on medium flame with the sizzling sound and serve.
  • The lamb jalfrezi will taste more delicious with some lemon juice drizzled.
  • You can use any coloured bell pepper, red, yellow or green.

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