The grandest of Indian dishes, this is curry but not as we know it. It combines two cooking techniques, braising and roasting, and the result is highly impressive. Although the recipe calls for lamb, eel free to use hogget, mutton or even goat.
2 legs of lamb, weighing about 1.5kg each, trimmed of any surface fat
2 tablespoons red chilli powder
5 tablespoons ginger Paste
6 tablespoons garlic paste
250ml (1cup) malt vinegar
500g (2 cups) plain yoghurt
3 onions, sliced and fried until crisp
2 teaspoons royal (black) cumin seeds
1 tablespoon salt
6 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks, about 5cm (2 inches each)
5 green cardamom pods
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon chaat masala
4 tablespoons single cream
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
With the tip of a sharp knife, cut small incisions in the lamb legs at approximately 5cm (2-inch) intervals. Mix together the red chilli powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, vinegar, yoghurt, fried onions, royal cumin and salt, then massage them over the legs, rubbing and pressing the spices into the gashes created by the knife. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Put the legs, drained of all marinating liquid, on an oiled baking tray, add the bay leaves, cinnamon and green cardamom, then cover the tray with foil. Place in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and braise for 2 ½ hours, until the meat is very tender and ready to fall of the bone. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Remove the legs from the liquid and allow them to dry. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve to make the sauce.
Take the meat off the bone and cut into 5cm (2inch cubes). Thread them on to 8-10 metal skewers and roast on a BBQ or under a very hot grill, basting frequently with the melted butter, until crisp and well browned. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice, any leftover melted butter and the chat masala.
Or the sauce, bring the cooking juices to the boil in a small pan and simmer until reduced to a coating consistency. Correct the seasoning and stir in the cream, garam masala and fresh coriander. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with a naan bread.
Cooks note: it is important to drain all the liquid from the legs before roasting them, in order to get a crisp finish.