Have you ever made a leg of Lamb curry for your festive table? This leg of lamb curry is one I use in my festive menus as a star dish, when I invite friends over that love lamb dishes. It is always a hit.
The leg of lamb curry in oven was an easy and failsafe way to make this star dish of my rice and curry Christmas dinner table this time. I guess you can call it braised leg of lamb curry as well, I am going with good old-style name the spicy leg of Lamb curry!
To make my dusky beauty of leg of lamb curry in oven, I am going to cut a whole leg of lamb into big pieces. Little bit bigger than a curry cut. I want to make my guests happy while being able to infuse a lot of the flavor of my spices and herbs into the meat. Meat is going to melt in your mouth tender but still going to be holding on well during long cooking time.
If I can I convince you to section that leg of lamb before cooking, I hope because it turned out to be the best lamb curry dish, I ever made with so many depths and layers of flavors distributed evenly throughout every bite.
Little bit about Lamb Curry in Sri Lanka
Choice of cooking utensils and cooking method for the leg of lamb curry
Let’s talk a little bit about the best cooking pot for making curries in the home kitchen. It is none other than earthenware or red clay cooking pot. Clay pot should be able to withstand long cooking time on stovetop or in the oven. That means, when you can get your hand on such clay cooking pot you need to season it first by soaking it in water for at least two hours then rinsing. Next, apply a thin layer of oil and slowly heat with some scraped coconuts and rice until hot. Turn the heat off and let it cool completely. For this recipe, I am using Clay Dutch oven from Reston Lloyd. I got this over some time ago and the results are so over the top every time I use it. two points to remember however, always starting with a cold oven and presoaking the clay Dutch oven in water at least for 15 minutes before adding ingredients.
If you don’t have a clay pot, please do not be alarmed. Second choice of making this curry is in enameled cast iron Dutch oven. Cast iron cookware is much easier to find than clay.
Little bit about choice of cut of the meat
I am going with a boneless leg of lamb today. However, you can use any mix of cuts of lamb meat for this curry. Adding leg bone will enhance the flavor profile. Trim out the excess fat from the meat. I trimmed out most of the roasting fat layer and only included about 10 % of the fat. You do not want this curry to be extra greasy. Rinse meat in cold running water and pat dry with a few paper towels. Cut into about two-inch cubes. With that done Let’s get making some delicious leg of lamb curry.
Leg of lamb curry in oven
- Whole leg of lamb cubed
For black curry powder
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds toasted
- 1 tsp fennel seeds toasted
- 1 tbsp raw white rice toasted
- 1 tbsp dry coconut flakes toasted
- 10 fresh curry leaves toasted
For red curry powder
- 5 whole dry chilies toasted
- 2 tbsp Spanish paprika toasted
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds toasted
- 2 tsp cumin seeds toasted
- ½ tsp black cumin seeds toasted
- 5 pods of cardamom crushed
- 5 cloves crushed
Tempering and herbs
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 inch of ginger minced
- 3 red onions sliced
- 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves sliced
- 1 tbsp date molasses
- 2 tsp of tamarind paste
- 1 Indian bay leaf
- 3 inch stick of Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Lime zest or preserved lime
- 2 tsp of salt
- 2 tsp black peppercorns crushed
- 3 tbsp of ghee
- Toast dry chili peppers, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black cumin seeds and fennel seeds separately and grind them together. lightly toast Spanish paprika and add them to the curry mix. Crush cloves and cardamom to bruise them lightly and add them to curry blend. Set aside the red curry blend.
- Toast all the ingredient in under the black curry
- Add curry powder we made with ginger, garlic, salt and black pepper to lamb and massage to coat well. Let the lamb marinate for 3 hours to overnight.
- On following day, (if marinating overnight) caramelize the onion in ghee with Indian bay leaf and the stick of cinnamon in a stainless-steel skillet until golden brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside for the moment. Sear the lamb pieces in the same pan as you fried onions.
- Deglaze the pan with a cup of water add tamarind and date molasses to the deglazed liquid
- Pack the meat in to clay Dutch oven alternatively with caramelized onions, Top with some caramelized onions and unroasted curry leaves. Add Indian Bay leaf, lime zest and stick of cinnamon on top.
- Add the deglazed liquid. If you are using a cast iron Dutch oven add extra cup and half of water. If you are using the clay Dutch oven. Do not use any extra water. Just soak the clay Dutch oven for 15 minutes prior to adding the meat. Meat is going to cook on its own juices and is going to come out so much flavorful.
- Cover and cook at 350 degrees for 3 hours. or until meat is fall apart tender. Open the lid and give it a stir after every one hour to distribute seasonings evenly.