Wednesday, January 11, 2012

To warm up the day - Lamb and Date Tagine

This week's been a rather bleak and depressing one, with the death of the young boy in the TMA incident and the brutal murder of the elderly man in Kudahuvadhoo. May their souls rest in peace, and may the grieving families find solace and strength in these difficult times. 

The weather is equally gloomy, as if the sun too couldn't bother to shine as brightly amidst all the sad things happening in this country. Sunny side of life indeed. What with the dirty politics and name calling and finger pointing and endless blame games that lead to nothing at the end of the day, except more conflict and strife within families, between neighbors, amongst friends, I can't blame anyone for pulling a long face this week. Sigh.

So anyway, I thought I'd try to warm up your hearts (and more importantly your bellies) by sharing a wonderful recipe to chase the blues away. I say wonderful because it seems to be the one I make best [judging from the repeated requests, especially from my lil brother and my man who are both fussy about curries, and the fact that plates, pots and fingers are licked clean of every morsel]...and trust me I am no culinary genius by any means, as my many M-A-N-Y disastrous experiments could prove over the years. However I love cooking, or rather experimenting with ingredients, and a good meal always make the day so much better.

I initially found this on BBC food, and then looked up similar recipes but I made my own changes to suit my tastebuds and jotted this one down. This serves about 5 to 6 hearty eaters :)

Lamb and date tagine


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced small
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper (I am a pepper freak, so I tend to put even more at times)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (I tend to add more cinnamon too, heightens the spicy-sweetness but might not be for everyone)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (which I normally forget)
  • handful curry leaves
  • 1/3 cup parsley or coriander sprigs (for me it depends on what's available)
  • 1kg lamb, chopped into cubes
  • 250g dried dates, stones removed and each date sliced into bout 3 pieces
  • handful of cashews or almonds, chopped
  • 250ml pomegranate juice (I guess the packaged juice will work as well, but I love the fruit and prefer to squeeze the juice out of seeds)
  • 250ml water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp honey

Preparation method

  1. Heat the oil and add onions, fry on low heat until lightly browned.
  2. Add the diced garlic, ground cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, ginger and black pepper, as well as the curry leaves and mix well. The aroma is mouthwatering hehe, I love the smell of spices cooking.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the lamb cubes, coat well with the spice mixture.
  4. Add the handful of chopped cashews or almonds.
  5. Once the lamb turns lights brown, add pomegranate juice. I normally prepare it beforehand. I don't recommend putting the seeds in a blender as it might bring out the bitter taste of the seeds. Instead I squueze the seeds well on a strainer over a measuring cup. Usually the juice of a good sized pomegranate is enough.
  6. Add the sliced dates, water and salt and bring to the boil.
  7. Cover with the lid, and cook on very low heat for two hours. (Yes this takes patience - all worth it mind you, and is not a meal you decide to whip up at the last minute)
  8. As a finishing sprinkle in the sprigs of parsley or coriander.
  9. I add the spoonful of honey after I taste the dish. Sometimes with the dates and cinnamon its very sweet. Sometimes, if I've put more pepper I reckon, its a bit spicy and can do with some honey to make it just the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
I'll remember to take a pic and post next time I prepare this dish. It goes down equally well with bread, rice, roshi, wraps or couscous.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”J.R.R. Tolkien

Happy cooking people!

No comments:

Post a Comment