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A lamb dhansak

Lamb and lentils is a lovely combination, and in Britain at least it's what you normally get in a dhansak curry. This recipe is not an official dhansak, just something I put together. Serves 2, takes 1.5 hours (most of the time you don't have to be there though).

  • 400--600g lamb (I used lamb neck)
  • 2--3 cups red lentils
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 inch (or a bit more) cinnamon stick
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Half a tsp turmeric
  • A bay leaf or a lime leaf
  • 1 green chilli, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp garam masala

Optionally (but recommended), soak the lentils in water for at least an hour before you start, then drain them.

Peel and dice the onion, and separately the garlic, fairly small.

Heat up a wok (or other large pan, one that has a lid) to medium-hot. Add a little oil to the pan, and add the cumin and cinnamon. Shuffle it around a bit while the spices fry. When they start popping, add the onion and stir.

Let the onion fry to a bit of a golden colour (a couple of minutes), then add the lamb, cut into big bitesize pieces. Stir and fry, letting the lamb get a good bit of colour on it, for a few minutes.

Add the lentils, garlic, turmeric, bay/lime leaf and chilli, then enough water to cover it. Stir it up to get it mixed, bringing to the boil, then cover the pan, turn the heat right down to the lowest setting, and leave it to simmer gently for about an hour.

About half to three-quarters of the way through the simmering time, juice the lemon and add that to the pot. If the mixture is looking a bit too liquid, leave the lid off for the end of the cooking time. There's no need to be exact with the cooking time - the lentils and the lamb both need at least, say, 45 minutes, and anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half is good.

Near the end, sprinkle the garam masala over and mix it in.

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