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Jogan Josh Curry

India was once known as called the “Jewel in the Crown” because it was then Britain’s most valuable colony. Its fertile land produced foodstuffs like tea and coffee. The British in India were the ruling class, so an army officer could eat like a raja.
Breakfasts were substantial: boiled fish or prawns, a curry or casserole, cold mutton, bread and butter or rice, plantains or oranges or Kedgeree- once a popular British breakfast of  any cold fish, rice and boiled eggs – The household of a British official had its own deer, cows, calves, sheep, kids, ducks, geese and rabbits, so an important dinner could include fifteen or sixteen meat courses.

 One woman described an average daily main meal in 1780:  "We dine at 2 O'clock in the very heat of the day ... A soup, a roast fowl, curry and rice, a mutton pie, a forequarter of lamb, a rice pudding, tarts, very good cheese, fresh churned butter, excellent Madera.  Nap time followed, then socializing and visiting. Supper was light evening meal.

A century later, the meals were reversed—the midday meal was light, while the heavy main meal was a social event at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. After 1870, the word tiffin appears. This was a light midday meal or a snack.. The arrival of official’s wives shifted away from native Indian to Anglo-Indian or purely British food like roast meats, puddings, and sandwiches.

Curry was popular with Anglo-Indians, but not in its original meaning as a spiced relish from southern India. Instead, it became a catch-all word that could mean broth, a stew or a dry dish. Drinking increased. The beverage of choice was claret. A man could drink three bottles with dinner; a woman, one a day. They also drank Champagne, brandy, and beer.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years more, they say you can get a better curry in Manchester than you can in Delhi or Calcutta, for example. Just try this UK recipe for a simple but delicious Rogan Josh. It is traditionally made with lamb, the josh in the name is a mutation of gosht meaning "meat”.

Rogan Josh Curry

• 1 kg lamb cubed
• 1/2 cup yogurt
• 2 bay leaves
• 8-10 cloves
• 1 tsp peppercorns
• 2" piece of cinnamon
• 5-6 cardamom pods
• 2 tsps coriander powder
• 1 tsp cumin powder
• 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
• 2 tsps garam masala
• 3-4 Kashmiri dry red chillies coarsely ground
• 2 tbsps garlic paste
• 2 tbsps ginger paste
• 4 tbsps vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil
• 2 medium-sized onions chopped fine
• 2 cups beef/ lamb stock
• 1 cup water
• Salt to taste
• 5 tsps single cream
• Coriander leaves to garnish
• In a bowl, mix the lamb and yogurt and keep aside. This will tenderise the lamb.
• Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the whole spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns). Fry till they turn slightly darker in color.
• Now add the onions and fry till they turn light golden.
• Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for a minute.
• Add the powdered spices (coriander, cumin, tumeric, Kashmiri chilly and garam masala) and fry till the oil separates from the masala.
• Add the meat and yogurt mix to the masala and fry well.
• Add the beef stock, water and salt to taste. Cook till the gravy is reduced. Stir often. The gravy should be thick when done.
• Whisk the cream till smooth and stir it into the curry to mix well.
• Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with plain boiled rice or pulao and a vegetable side dish. - Fly at a Smile-Price