Sorry in advance, but this one is a bit of a rant. “Go Back Where You Came From” This seems to be the underlying sentiment and backbone of some philosophies trumped at and by us today. I am offended on a number of levels. Firstly, the correct English is “Go back to from whence you came.” So, if you don’t understand your own language, don’t shout it at strangers. My second level of offence is at the intolerance we show for each other at state level, and at every stratum of society, all the way to the most vulnerable. Thirdly, I am offended by the appropriation of the best culinary delights of numerous nations by those who believe the originators of those same recipes should “Go back where they came from.” I don’t go with this line of reasoning. I welcome diversity and I believe that we need to welcome the people as well as their recipes. So, when my Indian friend Prateek started a conversation about Indian cooking, I took the conversation to a logical conclusion and cooked these Indian Style Lamb Shanks.
Before I get any more offended (we are all now entitled to get offended by anything that appears on the Internet. It would appear that we are also allowed to be abusive and debased in our behaviour, while hiding under the cloak of anonymity worn by so many keyboard warriors), I really should give you the recipe.
- 4 lamb shanks (note that mine are hind shanks)
- 4 onions
- 500ml / 1 pint of good lamb, vegetable or chicken stock
- 400 gms (1 tin) of tinned tomatoes
- 150 gms of coconut cream
- 3 teaspoons of garam masala
- 2 teaspoons of green cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoons of black mustard seeds
- 10 to 12 curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 6 to 8 cloves
- 1 decent sized piece of cinnamon bark
- 5cm/2″ of root ginger
- 4 to 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
Peel and pulp the ginger and garlic. Slice the onions into half rings. Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a casserole dish to medium hot and then add the mustard seeds. Stir them until they start to pop and jump about the place. Then add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they become translucent.
Add the pulped ginger and garlic. Stir this until it starts to darken and the aromas of onion, ginger and garlic cause your eyes to water. Then add in the shanks and stir to brown them a bit and cover them in the paste.
When the shanks get a bit browned around the edges, add the remaining ingredients. Needless to say, this presents me with the opportunity to try another pouring shot. The big shanks I used were almost impossible to turn in the casserole so they didn’t get as brown as I might have liked.
When all the ingredients are added, give them as good a stir as a packed casserole will allow. Then bring it to a gentle boil. Put a lid on the pot and place it in a 150ºC/300ºF oven. Leave it there for four hours.
After four hours, remove the casserole from the oven and remove the shanks. Reserve them on a dish in the oven. Strain the remaining sauce and reduce it until it is a nice thick and flavour packed pouring sauce. Take guidance from the picture below.
Pour the sauce over the shanks and serve them. A handful of coriander doesn’t go astray at this stage. Serve the remaining sauce in a jug. You really can’t let it go to waste.
While you are enjoying this delight, reflect on the foreign people you may know. Think how dull your culinary life might be without lovely foods and flavours from around the world. While you are at it, think how dull the rest of your life might be without the rich influence of the people from the rest of the world. To my way of thinking, it leads to a logical conclusion. Enjoy.