Recipe for Dhana Ghosht


1 1/2 lb stewing lamb, trimmed of fat and di; ced
2 cup yogurt (full-fat), natural
6 garlic cloves, crushed
4 teaspoon coriander, ground
2 lila murcha, (fresh green chili pep; pers), crushed
4 teaspoon paprika
4 teaspoon salt (or less)
3 teaspoon ginger, coarsely crushed
4 tablespoon cooking oil (mustard oil is best)
2 medium onions (or more to taste)
3 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon black mustard seed
2 teaspoon red chili powder (also called cayen; ne pepper or lal mirch)
4 oz coriander, fresh


Dice the meat into bite-size cubes and soak in warm water for 2-3 minutes.

Mix the paprika, ground coriander, salt, crushed garlic and crushed green chilies with yogurt. Drain the lamb and add to the yogurt marinade. Leave to marinate for at least six hours. Ideally it should marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Dice the onions into thin semi-circles. In a large saucepan or a generous frying-pan, heat the cooking oil over a high flame. Add the onions when the oil is hot enough to "steam." Reduce the heat to medium and stir occasionally. Fry the onions until they change colour to a deep red/brown. This should take 10 to 15 minutes.

At this point add the black mustard seeds and stir a few times. Then add the ginger, cumin seeds, red chilies and turmeric powder. Increase the heat and fry this "masala" for a couple of minutes. Add the marinated lamb to the masala and mix well.

At this point you have two options, either to cook the meat on the stove or to bake it. Stove-top cooking takes less time but requires fairly constant stirring. It should be cooked in a covered saucepan on a low to medium flame for about 45 minutes. Add water if the sauce gets too dry and begins to stick. For baking, transfer it to an ovenproof casserole, cover it, and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 200 degrees F. Check occasionally, though you are unlikely to need to add any water to the sauce.

Finally, prepare and wash the fresh coriander in cold water. Only the leaves and the tender stems should be retained. Chop coarsely and mix well just before serving. If you don't have any fresh coriander, then mix in about 2-3 t of coriander powder. Serve with well buttered (boiled) rice or pita bread and fresh salad.


* A popular North Indian lamb dish with coriander -- This is a family variation on a popular North Indian dish. I cook it whenever I could get hold of fresh coriander, which in Edinburgh is seldom.

I don't know its authentic Indian name. We simply call it "dhana lamb" as that's how its always cooked at home. Dhana means "coriander" in Gujarati. Yield: Serves 3-4.

* Take care not to burn the onions and don't overcook the masala just before mixing in the marinated meat.

* I think the dish tastes a lot better if it is baked. It's even better if cooked for a longer period at a lower temperature.

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