I know a lot more about Pakistan after reading the incredible Three Cups of Tea. The book tells the real story of Greg Mortenson who, after failing to climb K2 (second highest mountain on Earth), he stumbled disoriented into a village in the mountains of Pakistan. After feeding him back to health, Mortenson decided to repay the favour and build the village their first school. He got hooked and built 50 all across northern Pakistan. Possibly even more impressively he built a bridge over the Indus River which for the first time meant villages could trade with each other rather than having to haul themselves from one side to another on a pulley hundreds of feet above the river. It is a great book and really paints a picture of the bustling cities and the insular mountain villages and it talks of how to get from one to the other you must drive for 4 days along mountain passes high above a graveyard of trucks which have slipped off the edge. In the book Mortenson mentions food and how lamb and goat is eaten just as often as it is available. It is usually served with dhal, which is served with every meal. Blog wise I decided not to make a dhal this week as I made one when I cooked dishes from India only 13 weeks back.
Pakistani cuisine is very similar to Indian, but meat is more readily used. I decided to make a lamb dish and made Lamb Karachi. Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan and the dish named after it is more readily known in the UK as Lamb Sag i.e. Lamb with Spinach. For those of you who love a curry but can never make one which meets take-away standard there are a few general tips:
- Use Ghee instead of oil. Ghee is clarified butter and whilst horrifically bad for you if eaten every day, lifts the dish and at the outset when you cook off the onions it heats to a temperature which allows them to cook for a long time without burning which really brings the flavour of them out and into the dish
- Take the garlic you were going to use and double it.
- Use a lot of ginger and make sure it is fresh. When ginger is mentioned in recipes, the temptation is to go to the cupboard and used the powdered version. Ginger is so much better fresh.
- If the recipe says to use Garam Masala (which it likely will) only add this at the end. Using other spices are great earlier in the dish but Garam Masala adds a lift at the end
- Blend things to make sauces. See how I did it this week below. Blending really combines the flavours well and brings out flavours which would have been stuck in lumps throughout the dish
I made the Naan using a pretty traditional recipe. Naan is very simple to make and whilst you will never get the same flavour or texture when grilling the bread as you would in a tandoor, they still taste great. The key to a good Naan is to use Yoghurt in the dough mix and a lot of sugar.
Lamb Karachi is a simple dish to make if you have an hour and a half spare and follow the recipe below you will have a restaurant standard dish. Enjoy!
- 500g Diced Lamb Shoulder
- 500g Spinach (Fresh)
- 2 Large Onions
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Inch Sq of Ginger
- 3 Finger Chillies
- 400G Chopped Tomatoes
- Tomato Ketchup (not traditional but works)
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 2tsp Coriander
- 2tsp Paprika
- 2tsb Tumeric
- 1tst Cayenne Pepper
- 2tsp Garam Masala
- 3tsb Ghee (or vegetable oil)
Slowly cook the diced onions in the ghee until they are golden brown. As they are starting to turn add the garlic, ginger and chillies (and a pinch of salt)
As soon as the onions are golden add the tomatoes and a squeeze of ketchup. Cook for about 5 mins and then pour the lot into a blender with a dash of vegetable oil. Blitz it all and then return it to the pot.
Add the diced lamb and let the whole mix stew for about 40 mins before adding the cumin, coriander, paprika, tumeric and cayenne.
Cook this all together for 10 mins whilst wilting the spinach in a different pot. Once wilted add this to the lamb mix, and add the Garam Masala. Cook for 2 minutes only and you are done.
- 7g Yeast (packets come in this size)
- 150g Sugar
- 150g Salt
- 500g Bread Flour
- 4 Tbsp Natural Yoghurt
- 1 Egg (beaten)
- 1 tsp minced garlic