500g boneless stewing lamb, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 inch stick cinnamon or cassia bark
1 bay leaf
2 green cardamoms
4 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 dried red chillies
2 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
10-12 curry leaves
2 onions, sliced
1 tsp peeled and grated root ginger
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
2 tomatoes, chopped
a few coriander leaves, washed and coarsely chopped (optional)
In a large heavy based saucepan with a lid, tip in the lamb with the turmeric and 500ml of just boiled water. Cover it and cook over a high heat for 15 minutes. Then turn down the heat to medium and cook for a further 15 minutes until the lamb is tender.
Heat a dry skillet or frying pan over a medium low heat until you can feel the heat rising. Add the cinnamon stick or cassia bark, bay leaf and cardamoms and roast for 30 seconds, shaking the pan.
Add the cloves, peppercorns, cumin, coriander, fennel and poppy seeds and dried red chillies and continue roasting, shaking the pan, for about 1 minute longer, or until you can smell the aroma of the spices. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately tip in the spices onto a plate and let them cool completely.
Transfer the spices to a spice mill and blend until finely ground.
Heat a pan on a medium heat and add the oil. Tip in the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Then add the onions and fry for 7-9 minutes until the mixture turns golden brown. Mix in the ginger and garlic and the spice blend with the salt. Stir in the tomatoes and lamb with the stock and cook till the mixture has thickened. Garnish with coriander leaves, if using, and serve with plain Basmati rice.