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Durban Lamb Curry. No Oil Challenge

Last nights lamb curry, with a bit of a challenge. How to cook a curry with no oil?

I got home, slipped into something more comfortable, decided to quickly put the onions and their friends on to saute, whilst I get started on the dreaded ‘End of Day Report’, (which I have to submit every day before 20h00). One of the perks of a day job.

I chopped the onions, put my AMC pot on the stove and then my blood ran cold, as I realised that I had forgotten to buy oil.

I balanced the empty oil bottle on its lid and managed to get about half a teaspoon out and then consulted with the group and found out that Holsum is actually ok to use.

Bummer, only a teaspoon and a half of Holsum left. Time to make a plan.

Melted the Holsum and added the half teaspoon of oil and then my onions. Gave it a stir and then put the lid on and attempted to ‘braise’ the onions in the condensed steam from the onions.

Opened up and it was way too dry. So cut off a few pieces of the fat from the lamb and added to the onions, threw in a splash of water and covered again on low-medium to braise a bit.

Opened up after 5 mins, ok, kinda working. Added ginger & garlic, another splash of water and lid back on.

5 mins later, onions are looking good.

Hmm, no chance of adding masala now, as there is just not enough liquid and, of course, oil.

Add meat and braised a bit with the onions to try and release some more fats and liquid.

(Braising, from the French word braiser, is a combination-cooking method that uses both wet and dry heats: typically, the food is first browned at a high temperature, then simmered in a covered pot in cooking liquid. I like to braise my curry in the condensation from the steam that falls back off the lid)

Right, getting somewhere. So sprinkled my masala on the top of the meat and covered again and let braise for 5 or so mins.

Perfect, give a good ol’ mix and watch that masala come to life. Beautiful.

Was still quite dry, so again a splash of water and a mix and then tried to fry/saute the meat and masala as best I can, to temper the spices.

Ok, this is starting to work. Add a bit of water, the colour and aroma now springs to life, cover and let simmer for 10 mins.

Great. Mix, add curry leaves and some salt and simmer again for 5 mins. (tear off a piece of bread roll and avocado that my daughter left over and dipped it in the gravy ….. nice.)

Time for potatoes. Nothing fancy as I am jumping between the kitchen and my end of day report, so just peel cut poke and add them to the pot.

Mix cover. Cook for 10 mins. Open pot, almost done.

Mix, and when I say mix, I meat scrape from the bottom with a flat wooden utensil, a bit more salt, taste again, feel full and wonder if I am even gonna eat.

Report done. Food done. Snap off a few photos and dish, whilst apologising to the family that I never made sambals. They don’t care, it is now 20:30 and the smell of the curry has hypnotized them.

Dish 3 small bunnies and before I can look again, plates clean and everybody happy.

And that is my story how I cooked a lamb curry with basically no oil.

Yes, I could have probably made a plan and gone back to the shop, but I am always up for an adventure when it comes to experimenting with my curries.

Also please note: Cooking times may vary, but with AMC pots your cooking time & the temperature that you have to cook at is reduced due to the design of the lid and the heavy base.

I would have normally used at least 150ml oil for 1.2kg meat, even more if I was really loading the masala.

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