Goan curry is very much the unsung hero of the spice-world. Its true beauty lies in the fact that it’s aromatic and mildly spiced; completely lacking the often intensive ‘chilli kick’ of its hotter Indian counterparts. The habitual use of coconut milk adds a rich creaminess, which perfectly complements the mellow flavour and adds just the right touch of sweetness.
Beyond its exquisite flavour, Goan curry has another string to its ample bow – it’s a true joy to cook and is incredibly simple & straightforward. Don’t get me wrong; I love the intricate grinding, blending and mixing of a good home-made curry, but sometimes you just want something easy. This dish is certainly that; yet tastes anything but! There are no pastes to make, or spices to roast and grind. The whole thing can be made from store-cupboard staples and is powder-based; so a spoon is all you need to measure out the ingredients and create the flavour.
This dish works equally well with fish, chicken or vegetables; indeed chicken and fish are the Goan staples. Here however, I’ve chosen to use minced lamb on account of its deep, rich, succulence. The smell which fills the kitchen when you cook with lamb is mouthwatering beyond compare. Add to this the perfumed, exotic scent of ground spices and you’ll want to cook this time and time again!
Start with the marinade. Measure the following into a large mixing-bowl: 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of paprrika, 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, a tablespoon of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of water and a generous pinch of salt. Mix all together, then add your lamb-mince, or whichever meat you choose to use. Amalgamate well and leave to infuse in flavour for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables. Finely slice a large onion and crush two cloves of garlic. De-seed half a red pepper, yellow pepper and green pepper, then chop these into bite-size chunks. Roughly slice a couple of handfuls of mushrooms and set all aside in a bowl. Any spare vegetables that need using can also go in. I had some mange-tout which needed a home, so in they went!
After half an hour, heat a little oil in a heavy pan on the hob and spoon in your marinated meat. The smell should be divine! Sear and brown the lamb until pleasingly coloured, then add your vegetables and stir through. Leave these to cook for ten minutes until soft, then crank up the heat and add in a can of coconut milk, mixed with an inch of water. Crumble in a chicken stock cube for background depth, then spoon in a dollop of dijon mustard (a good teaspoonful!).
Leave to simmer on a low heat until the sauce is thick and glossy, circa 20 minutes. Once done, sprinkle over a generous handful of chopped basil and take to the table.
I have a confession to make here. I was going to serve this with some cauliflower-rice that I had pre-cooked in the fridge. Somebody (who will remain nameless) found this however, and polished off the lot for lunch whilst I was at work! I think I’ll need to install a lock on the fridge-door, to save my carefully planned meals from scavenging, peckish diabetics! My backup plan was a quick sauté of courgette-noodles. Equally delicious, if slightly less classical…!
Whatever you end up serving this with, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!