Quilon Lamb

Chef Joe Thottungal, Coconut Lagoon, Ottawa
We first fell in love with chef Thottungal’s food when he podiumed at the 2018 Canadian Culinary Championship and again when he served this at the opening reception of the championships in Ottawa in February. Many thanks to Anne des Brisay, Ottawa’s senior judge, for tracking down this tasty lamb dish.

1 lamb leg, boneless, 2 lbs, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 T Kashmiri chile powder, divided
2 T turmeric powder, divided
¾ c coriander powder, divided
3 T coarsely crushed black pepper, divided
fresh curry leaves from 3 sprigs
5 c roughly chopped onion
1/3 c finely chopped ginger and garlic, equal amounts
3 c fresh ripe tomato, chopped
3 T garam masala (recipe follows)
1¼ c coconut oil
2 t black mustard seed
2 t cumin seed
3 T fresh lemon juice
10 c water
½ c cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
salt to taste

Wash the lamb, pat dry and put in stockpot. Stir in the spices: 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon turmeric, ¼ cup coriander, 2 tablespoons crushed pepper, 2 teaspoons garam masala and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the water, cover and simmer for an hour, or until meat is tender. This can also be done in a pressure cooker.

In a separate pan, heat the oil, then add the black mustard and cumin seed. Let them sizzle and crackle. Add the ginger-garlic mixture and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the onion and curry leaves. Cook until the onions are lightly brown. Add the remaining spice powders and stir it until the spices are cooked (the oil will go from cloudy to clear when spices are cooked.) Add chopped tomato and cook for 12-15 minutes over medium heat. Add to the cooked lamb in the pot and let it simmer for another 15 minutes.

To finish the dish, add the lemon juice, garam masala, remaining black pepper and salt. Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro. Serves 6.