Wednesday 15 September 2010


I made a phaal tonight, for tomorrow night and for freezing down.  It's pretty warm but not deathly so...

Lamb Phaal

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 bulb Garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
  • (at least) 5 Chilli Peppers (or more, depending on how hot you want this to be)
  • 3 Tsps Cumin Seeds
  • 3 Tsps Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Peppercorns, Black
  • 2 Tsps Turmeric Powder
  • 25g Root Ginger
  • 40ml Grapeseed or Sunflower Oil
  • 1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 4 Tbsps Tomato Puree, Double Concentrate
  • 1 huge Onion (350-450g), peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Tin/400g Plum Tomatoes in juice
  • 30g Tamarind
  • 550-600g Lamb Neck Fillets, cubed


First make the paste -

1. Toast 2tsp coriander seeds, 2tsp cumin seeds, 1tsp peppercorns and 1tsp mustard seeds in a pan.

2. Turn out into a mortar, add 1tsp sea or rock salt crystals and grind up until you have a powder.

3. Add that into a suitable vessel for hand blending or into a blender.
4. Add 2/3rds of the garlic cloves, 1 roughly chopped chilli, 1/2 the lump of ginger, all of the tamarind (either as-is or a paste) and half of the oil.

5. Blend into a thick paste and set aside.

Now for the curry -
1. Chop half of the remaining chillies and slit the others down the middle.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, stir over a medium heat until golden.

3. Add the lamb and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Sprinkle the turmeric over the lamb.  Add the paste, the rest of the cumin, coriander and fenugreek seeds, finely sliced ginger and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle in some water if the mixture begins to stick.

5. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and the chillies and bring to a gentle simmer; Cook for a further 15 minutes or until the lamb is cooked through.

6. Check the seasoning and serve with plain rice, naan or a cool daal.  Remove the whole chillies before serving if desired and add a dollop of Greek yoghurt if it is a touch on the warm side.

It does get better with sitting in a fridge overnight, or freezer for a few days.  So if possible, make it a day or two before you want to serve it.

Nutrition Data Per Serving
Calories (kcal)450.1
Carbohydrate (g)25.6
Protein (g)31.5
Fat (g)25.3
Fibre (g)4.4
Alcohol (g)0.0
Fruit & Veg2.8


  1. I suspect I'll give that a go. I like lamb though I'm increasingly squeamish over preparing meats. Fenugreek and mustard seeds (along with fennel) are amongst my favourites for flavour and aroma. the Indian pickling spices I suppose.