Lamb and Spinach Curry (Indian #5)

I am failing pretty miserably at making this blog even slightly seasonal. For the last few days the sun has been shining and I have been getting more and more silly tan marks and yet here I am writing about curry, again. Knowing British weather though, I am pretty convinced that soon enough it’s going to turn cold again and therefore perfectly suitable to warm, spicy, meaty stews. When it does, make this curry.

Lamb and Spinach Curry (slightly adapted from Hollow Legs)

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 onions
2 tbsp oil (I used olive oil but maybe something else would be more traditional)
5 medium tomatoes, peeled*
25 gr ginger
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp red chilli powder

800 gr lamb shoulder, cut in chunks, most fat removed

200 ml creamed tomatoes (approximately, depending on how red and beefy the fresh ones are)
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
2 green chillies, sliced in half (without seeds if you prefer)

1 bunch of spinach (~100 gr)
100 ml water
1/2 tsp garam masala
chopped fresh coriander, to garnish

Slice the onions and cook them in the oil slowly, for about 20 minutes, until soft. In the meantime, mix the fresh tomatoes with the garlic, ginger and chilli powder and blend until smooth. Add the soft onions and blend again. Return into the (large) saucepan and add the chunks of meat.

Cook for a few minutes until the meat starts to brown, stirring occasionally and then add the creamed tomatoes, the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt and the sliced chillies. Add enough water to simmer and let it cook for at least 2 hours, although more will make it better.

Towards the end of the cooking time, pour boiling water over the spinach until it’s just soft, drain and then blend it with the 100 ml water. Add the spinach puree and garam masala to the curry, let it simmer for a further 5-10 minutes and serve with some chopped fresh coriander.

* To easily peel the tomatoes, pour boiling water over them and leave them in it for a few minutes. Get rid of the water and peel.

So, this looks green. Maybe a bit too green to excite you enough to give it a go. But it tastes absolutely brilliant, with soft, meaty pieces of lamb falling apart and a very thick sauce, perfect for scooping up with some naan bread (which, by the way, I finally succeeded in making- recipe coming soon!). I also served it with some cucumber raita and an onion and pomegranate salad that I got off Hollow Legs and it’s an adapted Nigella recipe.

Previously on Round the World in 100 Recipes:
King Prawn Puri 
Saffron Yoghurt with Fennel Seed Biscuits 
Aubergine in Yoghurt 
Heston’s Chicken Tikka Masala
Next time on Round the World in 100 Recipes: Probably that (very pretty) onion and pomegranate salad.

(Healthy-ish) Spinach and Feta mini-pies

What do you do when you’ve spent three days eating huge amounts of spit-roast lamb for lunch and dinner?

Apparently, you find yourself ordering a crepe at that (life-saving) 24h sandwich shop. At 4 in the morning. I can’t even remember what was in there, but there was definitely cheese, chips (yeah, obviously) and mayo. And probably some meat.

Greedy.

I woke up with no hangover – thankfully all those calories didn’t completely go to waste. But I was really hoping to eat something slightly healthier and preferably green-coloured. I don’t think my mum has ever seen me so excited about spinach.

The recipe is of course quite vague, since this is how mum described it to me. Actually, her first sentence was “Make some dough” and she was not going to offer any further explanation. Thankfully she saw the blank look on my face and got the hint.

Spinach and Feta mini-pies

For the dough

500 gr all-purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
enough water to make a dough (~1/2 pint)

Simply mix the flour with the oil and the salt and then add water gradually and knead until you have a dough. You want it as wet as possible without sticking to your fingers or the bowl. Knead until smooth and let it rest. In the meantime, prepare the filling.

For the filling

200 gr spinach
6-7 spring onions
a bunch of dill
150 gr feta, crumbled
2 tbsp rice, washed
olive oil
a pinch of salt and some pepper

First of all, wash your greens and chop them up. In a big bowl, mix with the cheese and the rice. Add some pepper, a little bit of salt, depending on how salty your feta is, and drizzle with olive oil. Mix to combine.

By now the dough should be ready to be used. Cut off an apple-sized piece and place it on a lightly floured surface. You want to roll it out to a rectangular shape, a bit like in the picture below, but probably a bit thinner than mine. Make it thin enough so that you can just about see there’s spinach inside when you fill it and roll it up.

Add some of the mixture in the middle and then roll it into a long cylinder. Squeeze the ends of the dough to seal them and roll it in this kind of shape:

Brush top and bottom with some olive oil, place on a tray and cook in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. My mum turned them round towards the end, but I forgot to. Not sure how much of a difference it makes but you should probably do it anyway.

I think mine also needed a bit more cooking, but I was in a hurry. I reheated a couple the next day, and they were nicer, so leave yours until they look a bit darker than the ones on the picture.

I really love making a big batch of these and having them for lunch the next day too. You can also have them as a light dinner or serve them as a side to something meaty (in Greece we had them with some lamb – of course!).

You can add less authentic things in there too, like some kind of meat, diced finely. Just don’t skip the rice, it makes a big difference as it absorbs the liquid from the spinach and stops them from turning soggy.