Life is settling down. John’s family has gone, my cough is nearly gone and that thingo on my head is only just a scabby thing that will go away over the next week or so. The weather is getting warmer, the sun is out and I have a big smile on my face. No special reason, it’s just nice to be alive.
If you want to serve a spectacular meal to family or friends that you can prepare most of beforehand, this is it. I learned the technique at The Golden Pig cooking school in Brisbane but the directions are really easy to follow.
In my previous post I shared how to make Massaman curry paste from scratch. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever made. Yes, it’s work and it takes some time but lordy, the difference in the taste is gigantic.
When I read the menu and saw that the lamb was slowly braised in thin coconut milk for hours and then cooled and broken apart, I knew this would be a dinner party meal. You’re probably like me, when you invite friends over, you don’t want to be playing cook the whole evening and with this meal, you don’t have to. You do all that work in the days beforehand. The curry paste can be made up to a week ahead of time and the lamb a day or so ahead.
Then on the day, roast the vegetables and cook some rice. You’ve got your curry paste made, the lamb cut into chunks and it takes 15 minutes from walking into the kitchen to serving to put the curry together.
- 1 lamb shoulder
- 1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice (not required but this is what I used)
- 1 litre coconut milk
- 500 grams sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used rice bran oil)
- 10 small golden shallots (or small onions)
- (or you could use any roasted veg you really like - I added some butternut pumpkin to mine)
- 500 ml coconut cream (not shaken or stirred)
- 4 tablespoons curry paste
- 1 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
- 1 - 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 750 grams boned lamb cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons thick tamarind water (made from 1 tablespoon tamarind paste soaked in ⅓ cup hot water and rubbed with fingers to make a paste - push through a sieve)
- 2 tablespoons deep fried cashews
- Coriander leaves and red chilli strips to garnish
- Rub spice all over the lamb shoulder and place in a roasting pan. Pour coconut milk around the lamb and cover tightly with foil.
- Place in a pre-heated oven at 165C and cook 4-5 hours depending upon the size of your lamb shoulder. The lamb should fall off the bones.
- Add the oil to a roasting pan and place in the oven at 180C until hot.
- Add the vegetables and toss to coat in the oil.
- Roast for about 45 minutes until nicely caramelised. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- In a small pan of vegetable oil, deep fry the cashews and drain on paper towel and set aside.
- Open the tin of coconut cream and remove ½ cup of the really thick cream at the top and place in a large pan or wok on medium-high heat.
- Stir constantly until the coconut cream starts to split and the oil begins to separate from the coconut cream.
- Add the curry paste and cook until fragrant.
- Add the palm sugar and cook just a minute before adding the fish sauce and the rest of the tin of coconut cream.
- Stir well and add the lamb.
- Place the roasted vegetables on a serving platter and spoon over the curry.
- Garnish with the deep fried cashews, coriander leaves and chilli strips. (if you want to leave out the heat, serve the chilli strips on the side)
My lamb shoulder provided more than 750 grams of boneless lamb so I used the remainder in a wonderful shepherd’s pie.