2 racks lamb ribs
4 dried sanaam chilies
3½ tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp white poppy seeds
20 whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorn
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
20 g fresh ginger
1 whole green chili, chopped
7 Tbs (105 mL) white vinegar
1 Tbs (15 mL) tamarind paste
2 Tbs salt
¼ cup (60 mL) mustard oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp yellow mustard seed
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1½ tsp red chili powder
1 Tbs sugar
1 stem curry leaves
2 Tbs (30 mL) ghee (optional)
1 lime, for garnish
Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
Thinly sliced onion, for garnish
- In a pan, toast the sanaam chilli, cumin, poppy, seeds, cloves, and peppercorns together over medium-low heat, constantly moving the spices to ensure they don’t burn. Set aside to cool, then grind with a mortar and pestle.
- Once all spices are finely ground, add garlic, ginger, and green chilli to the mortar, crushing into a fine paste. Add tamarind paste and vinegar and mix all together.
- Pat down the lamb ribs with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. In a mixing bowl, rub spice paste onto the lamb ribs, fully coating with all of the marinade. Cover, and leave in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325° F
- Add mustard oil to a wide, heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, and add cinnamon stick and yellow mustard seeds. Set heat to medium, and slowly temper the oil until the mustard seeds start to sputter.
- Add sliced onions, turn up the heat and begin to caramelize, making sure not to burn. If the onions start to stick and turn dark on the bottom, add in a bit of water, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.
- Once caramelized, add turmeric, red chilli powder, sugar and curry leaves to the onions, and mix well.
- Add one cup of water to deglaze pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to lift off any bits that stuck on the bottom of the pot.
- Add lamb ribs with all of the marinade to the pot, and stir gently. Add enough water to just cover ribs.
- Turn the heat up until just before the liquid comes to a boil. Cover with a lid, or use foil to create a tight seal. Place in the oven for about 3½ hours.
- Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to rest for about an hour.
- After resting, gently pull the lamb out and set aside. Using a blender/stick blender, puree the braising liquid to desired smoothness, or leave it as is, if you prefer it chunkier.
- Cook down braising liquid until a rich curry sauce is formed. Add a touch of ghee if desired, and salt to taste.
- Add lamb back to finished vindaloo sauce, and warm through.
- Plate lamb ribs on a serving platter, and garnish with cilantro, onion slices and lime.
If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a spice/coffee grinder, or create a makeshift mortar and pestle with a large, heavy Ziploc bag (make sure there is no air in the bag when sealed), and a crushing implement (a rolling pin, or an empty wine bottle works great – be sure to use the bottom surface when grinding).