LAMB & EGGPLANT TIKKA MASALA

by GABRIELA NADINE

Lamb & Eggplant Tikka Masala ~ tikka masala is probably the most popular Indian dish on the planet, and with good reason…it’s creamy, aromatic, and so satisfying!

My Chicken Tikka Masala was so good I could hardly wait to try other versions.  Chicken is the most common, but tikka masala  is also made with lamb, fish, or the Indian cheese, paneer.  I planned a vegetarian dish, but at the last minute switched to lamb and eggplant, that combination is so lush.  I love curries of all kinds, but Tikka Masala (tikka meaning ‘chunks’ or ‘bits’, and masala meaning a mix of spices)  is a gentler dish, where the spices are more muted and the focus is on large chunks of marinated and then grilled meat.  The sauce is tomato based, and the distinctive bright orange color comes from the addition of heavy cream, or, in this case, coconut milk, which I think is a little lighter and balances out the richness of the lamb.

Tikka masala was actually invented in British Indian restaurants, so it’s not authentically Indian, but more of a 20th century fusion dish.  If you’re not familiar with Indian food and you want to ease into it, this is a good one to start with.

Lamb & Eggplant Tikka Masala

Lamb & Eggplant Tikka Masala ~ tikka masala is probably the most popular Indian dish on the planet, and with good reason…it’s creamy, aromatic, and so satisfying!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb good quality lamb, cut in large pieces
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 10 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 4 small dried hot chilies, crushed, seeds and all (adjust to suit your taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 28 oz can of good quality crushed tomatoes (you can use whole tomatoes and crush them yourself)
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Instructions

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  1. Put the lamb, yogurt, and spices in a bowl and mix until everything is well combined and the lamb is completely coated.. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (or even better, overnight) to marinate.
  2. Put the meat on a foil covered baking sheet (leave the yogurt coating on) and put under the broiler for about 10 minutes until the surface starts to char. The lamb will not be completely cooked, it will finish cooking in the sauce. Set the meat aside.
  3. For the sauce, heat the 3 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot and saute the onions, tomato paste, spices, garlic and ginger and salt for abut 10 minutes, stirring often so it won’t scorch.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Meanwhile cut the eggplant in large bite sized chunks. Heat a cast iron skillet (or similar pan) over medium high heat. Add the eggplant (with no oil) to the pan and saute, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the eggplant is softened and browned, but still firm, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut milk, cilantro, lamb and eggplant to the sauce and cook gently for about 30 minutes. You can partially cover the top if the sauce seems thick.
  7. Check the seasonings and adjust if necessary. Garnish with more cilantro, and serve with basmati rice and yogurt..

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