Photograph: Jonathan Gregson
- 10 green cardamom pods
- 6 cloves
- 5 cm cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 5 Kashmiri dried chillies, seeds shaken out
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 8 large garlic cloves
- 25 g ginger (peeled weight), cut into large pieces
- 7 tbsp vegetable oil
- 600 g lamb or mutton, cut into large bone-in cubes
- 300 g full-fat yogurt, stirred
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 0.75 tsp garam masala
- 0.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5 tsp fennel seeds, ground
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 1 tsp paprika, for colour (optional)
- 1 handful chopped fresh coriander leaves
- fried, golden ginger
- 2 tbsp yogurt
Using a spice grinder or a good mortar and pestle, grind the whole spices to a fine powder with the dried bay leaves. Separately blend together the garlic and ginger with a good splash of water until fine.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the lamb or mutton and brown well over a high flame; this will take a good eight to 10 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook over a moderate flame, stirring constantly as the water starts to dry. Once the paste is cooked, all you will see is clear oil in the pan and the garlic will smell cooked.
Add half the yogurt and cook over a moderate to high flame, stirring constantly and quite briskly, almost folding the yogurt into the lamb until it has been fully absorbed by the meat; it will take another 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining yogurt, stirring constantly as before. Once it is boiling, simmer, stirring every now and again, until the liquid in the pan has reduced by around one-third. Now add the ground whole spices, ground coriander and salt and cook, stirring, for a few minutes more.
Cover and cook over a low flame for 30-40 minutes, or until the meat is tender, remembering that mutton will take quite a bit longer to cook than lamb. Keep an eye on the pan and give it an occasional stir; add a good splash of water if the sauce looks dry.
Add the garam masala, black pepper, fennel seed powder and ground almonds. Taste, adjust the seasoning and add paprika (if using) for a rich red colour. Cook for another minute.
To serve, spoon the curry into bowls, drizzle with yogurt, and top with fried ginger and coriander leaves.
Recipe adapted from I Love Curry by Anjum Anand (Quadrille, £19.99).