“Lamb shanks are the closest to the small legs of lamb we get in India.” — Neela Paniz
6 lamb shanks (approximately 12 ounces each)
12 garlic cloves
2-inch piece ginger, peeled
1/2 cup yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (see Note)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 small onions, halved and sliced into thin half-moons
6 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon saffron threads
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Trim any excess fat off the shanks, being careful not to pull the meat away from the bone. With the point of a knife, pierce holes in the meat.
2. In a mini-blender, grind the garlic, ginger, and 1/4 cup of the yogurt to a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the remaining yogurt and the garam masala. Put the lamb in a shallow dish and rub the marinade into the lamb. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions and saute until dark golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently so as not to burn them. Add the tomatoes, mixing well, and continue to saute until incorporated. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric to what is now masala raan. Cook until the oil separates and the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.
4. Carefully add 3 of the shanks to the pot and brown them on all sides for about 5 minutes. Return them to the dish with the marinade and repeat with the remaining 3 shanks. Return all the shanks, with their marinade, to the pot and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes over high heat, turning the shanks every so often. Add the salt, mixing well, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, turning the shanks once or twice so they absorb the masala evenly.
5. Add the rum and saffron threads and cook for another 45 minutes, or until the meat is very tender.
6. Place on a serving platter, topping off with the masala remaining in the pot. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Note: Garam masala is a North Indian spice blend containing cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. It is available in specialty and Indian grocery stores.
Recipe © 2004 Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. All rights reserved.