Easy lamb curry (Agani curry)

Recipes that are handed down through generations have a special place in my heart (and my kitchen). They help keep family traditions alive. This lamb curry recipe was recited to me by my grandmother, as I was furiously scribbling away her precious instructions in my leather-bound recipe book – all in the hopes of handing it down to my grand kids some day. 

Agani curry, the colloquial name of this dish, is from Kayalpatnam, a Muslim town in south India native to our family. Unlike many Indian recipes, the ingredients in this dish are surprisingly fuss-free, with the exception of the white poppy seed paste (khas khas) that’s added in the end as a thickening agent. Feel free to leave it out if you cant find it.

A pressure cooker makes quick work of the lamb. But if you don’t have one, slow cooking it for an hour or so will get you the same result. Enjoy with steamed white rice. 

 

Easy Lamb Curry / Agani Curry
Serves 5
This one-pan lamb curry is so simple to make, even a novice cook can pull it off with minimum effort!
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To mix
  1. 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  2. 4 cloves
  3. 1/2 stick cinnamon (see notes)
  4. 3 tablespoons ginger garlic paste - freshly made
  5. 1 tablespoon yoghurt
  6. 10 curry leaves
For the rest
  1. 3 tablespoons oil
  2. 2 tablespoons ghee
  3. 250 grams onions, chopped
  4. 1 kilo lamb on the bone, cut into pieces (see notes)
  5. 450 grams thick yoghurt
  6. 3 green chillies, slit in the middle
  7. 1 tablespoon white poppy seed paste (khas khas), optional
  8. 2 tablespoons almond or cashew paste
  9. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger garlic paste, 1 tablespoon yoghurt, and curry leaves and give everything a gently stir. Set aside.
  2. In a deep pan, heat oil and ghee.
  3. Add chopped onions and fry until the onions sweat and brown slightly.
  4. Add the above spice paste to the pan and fry until the mixture turns sticky and the raw aroma or ginger and garlic disappears (approximately 6 minutes).
  5. Add lamb and green chillies and stir to coat everything and colour the lamb slightly.
  6. Add the remaining yoghurt and mix well.
  7. At this point you can either pressure cook the lamb (4 to 5 whistles) or slow cook for 1 hour or until tender.
  8. Once the lamb is tender, add salt, almond paste and white poppy seed paste (optional).
  9. Simmer the curry for 5 more minutes, until the curry has thickened slightly.
  10. Serve warm with steamed white rice.
Notes
  1. If possible, use Sri Lankan cinnamon with the soft bark. If unavailable, any kind will do.
  2. To make the poppy seed paste (khas khas), grind 1 tablespoon of white poppy seeds with a little warm water in a pestle a mortar until smooth.
  3. To make the almond paste, soak blanched almonds in hot water for 30 minutes before grinding into a paste.
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