Tangy Andhra lamb with fat green chillies

Tangy Andhra lamb with fat green chillies

I Love India
Martin Poole

The food from Andhra is some of the spiciest in India. The region has so many delicious lamb dishes, so it was hard to choose just one for this book, but in the end I chose this dish as I was struck by the flavourful and not-too-spicy fat green chillies grown in Andhra and used in abundance. You can find short, fat green chillies in the West and they are so good; some are spicier than others, so this is not for the faint hearted. The chillies add a really wonderful flavour but not too much heat; if you are unsure, push them to the side of your plate. I like to make sure there is at least one chilli per person, but you might want to add extra for those who love the heat. Serve with Indian breads.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 1 tsp for the chillies
1 rounded teaspoon cumin seeds
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, quartered
15g roughly chopped root ginger, (peeled weight)
4 large garlic cloves
600g diced lamb
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder, (optional)
1 rounded tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
4-6 fat green chillies, a little slit cut in one side
2 teaspoons see method for ingredients, (fresh if possible)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, or to taste
handful chopped coriander, to serve


  1. Heat the 4 tbsp oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Tip in the cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds, or until they darken a little, then add the onions and cook until soft and really well browned.
  2. Meanwhile, blend together the tomatoes, ginger and garlic until nice and smooth.
  3. Add the lamb to the pot and cook over a high-ish flame for about 1–2 minutes. Add the blended paste, salt, black pepper, ground turmeric and coriander and chilli powder (if using). Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring every few minutes, until all the liquid in the pan has cooked away and the pot looks quite dry, 10–12 minutes.
  4. Add enough water to come halfway up the lamb, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently until the meat is tender, 50–70 minutes. Check on it every 10–15 minutes, giving it a stir and adding a splash of water if the pot seems dry.
  5. As this cooks, individually dry-fry the sesame seeds and desiccated coconut until lightly golden. Pour both straight into a mortar and pestle, add the peanuts and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
  6. When the lamb is done, give the pan a wipe and add the remaining 1 tsp oil. Add the slashed chillies and stir-fry for 4–5 minutes or until the sides have changed colour. Add to the lamb with the powdered seeds and nuts, the garam masala and half the tamarind. Return to the boil and simmer for 4–5 minutes or until the chillies are just soft. Taste and adjust the seasoning and tamarind to taste, add some boiling water if the curry seems dry, and serve sprinkled with the coriander.
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