This fabulous curry is your Island Cook’s version of a dish from Bradford’s Karachi Restaurant celebrated by Rick Stein in his Food Heroes TV series (the recipe was in the accompanying BBC Book). The original used spinach but I have much more growing success here in Orkney with chard – its earthy flavour is perfect for a curry.
Print the recipe here
• 50g ghee or clarified butter
• 250g onions
• 250g tomatoes
• 60ml water
• 40g fresh root ginger
• 2-3 cloves garlic
• 500g lamb or mutton, cut into 4cm pieces
• 200g fresh chard with stalks
• 2 tsp each salt, turmeric, ground cumin and coriander, and paprika
• 1-2 green chillies, roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp leaf coriander
• 1 tsp garam masala
• Ground cumin and black pepper to garnish
1. Chop the onions, then cook in a covered flameproof casserole with the ghee over a low heat for 20-30 minutes until very soft and lightly browned. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes, water, peeled ginger and garlic. Strip the chard leaves from the stalks and chop the stalks.
2. Add the purée to the pan with the meat, chard stalks and salt. Cook for 30 minutes: the sauce will be reduced. Stir in the spices and cook for a further 30 minutes for shoulder meat, and up to an hour for leg. Add more water if it sticks.
3. Wilt half the chard leaf in a hot pan, then blend it to a purée with the chillies and a little water. Shred the remaining chard.
4. Skim any surplus fat from the meat if you wish (the original recipe used much more ghee than I use, so there should not be too much). Add the purée and the shredded chard, cook for 2 minutes then season. Add the garam masala and coriander, then turn onto a serving dish and garnish with the cumin and pepper. Serve with rice or dhal.
• Revisiting this recipe last weekend I was struck by how simple it was – I remember it as being much more complicated.
• This recipe is one of the best examples I know of the depth of flavour achieved when you add spices in various layers to a dish.
• Black pepper is used simply as a garnish here – and it works brilliantly.
• There is so much flavour in this dish that you really just need some chutney with it – side dishes would be good but they are certainly not necessary.