9 Apr 2012

Incredible Indian Lamb Shanks with Rice Pilaf, BBQ Naan Bread, Caramelized Carrots and Icelandic Beer

Lovely lemons and limes

This dish was almost entirely my brother's making. The roles were reversed this time and I proudly assumed the position of sue chef and was ready at hand for cutting down the ingredients, grilling the naan bread and cooking the carrots. The result of was so exquisite that I felt compelled to share it here on the blog.
Pungent mint and koriander

This would perhaps usually be prepared using a whole leg of lamb, but this would ultimately be a waste of the delicious and crunchy marinade. So instead, the lamb shanks offer themselves as a better choice for a couple of reasons, namely, you can prepare and serve one shank per person which will be generously coated with the morish almond crust, which ultimately makes for an inviting presentation; the shanks resting on a bed of brightly colored rice. And take note: for full effect, the lamb requires overnight stay in the marinade, so the flavors can fully permeate the lamb.

A blend of Indian spices; cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, paprika & ground koriander

Incredible Indian Lamb Shanks with Rice Pilaf, BBQ Naan Bread, Caramelized Carrots and Icelandic Beer

The lambshanks in their fragrant marinade

We picked up the lamb shanks from Saluhallen the day before, because as mentioned before, the meat needs a 24 hours marinade. Begin by piercing small incisions into the lamb all over with a sharp skewer or a knife so the marinade will easily penetrate the muscle. The marinade is made as follows: 3 teaspoons cardamon seeds, 2 onions, 8 cloves of garlic, 4 cm piece of fresh ginger, 3-5 green chilies, 6 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons cloves, 2 tablespoon lemon juice and 400 ml of good unflavored yogurt. Pour everything into a food processor or a mortel and mix into an aromatic paste. Coat the lamb shanks vigorously with half of the marinade, the remaining marinade is covered and placed in the fridge to be used the day after (yes, you heard right - it is double marinaded). The next day, remove the marinade from the fridge and add a pack of almonds, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 150 ml of yogurt - back into the blender for an even thicker paste. Coat the lamb shanks again and place into an oven pot, and pour any remaining marinade over them so as nothing goes to waste. Baked on low temperature, 160 degrees for 4 hours.

During the baking the shanks develop a crust

With the lamb we served mint sauce - which is an extremely refreshing sauce and compliments the flavors of the lamb perfectly. Two bundles of fresh coriander and two of mint, 1 de-seeded green apple, 1 green chilly, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, one onion, salt, pepper, a splash of lemon juice and a bit of maple syrup are put into a food processor and mixed until you have a lustrous and bright green sauce - almost neon green.

Homemade simple Naan bread
Next is the naan. Pour 500-600 ml of flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoon of oil. Dissolve 3 teaspoons of sugar in lukewarm milk and then add and awaken the yeast in the milk. When the yeast has begun to froth on the surface of the milk, pour into the flour and mix well. Then add around 200 ml of yogurt (it can even be flavored yogurt, it doesn't go amiss to use for example fruit flavored yogurt - which will give the naan a slight hint of fruit). Knead the dough until it is satiny, soft and elastic and doesn't stick to your fingers and allow it to rise for at least an hour. When it is ready, pinch small pieces off the dough and flatten  into a thin teardrop shape. Brush well with garlic oil and sprinkle with Maldon salt, before transferring them to the fiery hot grill (or a tandoori oven if you are lucky enough to be in possession of one of those). 

Candied Carrots

We also made this fragrant and beautiful carrot dish. Peel 5-6 big carrots and cut into bite size pieces and boil them until soft in salted water - perhaps for 15 minutes. The water is drained away and the carrots are allowed to cool down for a few moments. Meanwhile, cook up caramel on a pan. Half a cup of sugar along with a tablespoon of water are poured onto a pan over medium heat. The sugar will quickly dissolve and slightly brown - make sure it doesn't burn. Next, add a teaspoon of dried ginger, the same amount of ground cumin and stir into the caramel. Throw in the carrots and brown in the sugary mixture. When the carrots are thoroughly coated and sticky, transfer them to a bowl and sprinkle with a little fresh parsley.

Simple tomato&onion salad

We served a very simple tomato and onion salad with the lamb - which we often have with rich curries and Indian food in general. Tomatoes and onions are sliced thinly and layered on a plate - splash of olive oil and sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper.

We also made a brightly colored rice pilaf that worked as a nice contrast with the earthy tones of the lamb shanks. Melt a knob of butter on a pan, and fry 3 thinly sliced gloves of garlic until glistening. Add 2 tablespoons of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of byriani and 4 cups of boiled basmati rice - fry until heated through and season with salt and pepper.

Icelandic Indian Pale Ale

Indian food is spicy enough as it is - sometimes a glass of cold beer works better then a fragrant wine! So this time we drank some excellent Icelandic beer with the meal called Úlfur (Wolf) from the microbrewery Borg. It is an Indian Pale Ale, which I think goes well with Indian food. The beer is brewed from "pale" malt and was first brewed in England in the seventeenth century, close to a harbor where a ships travelling from India docked. It was often transported to India and considered perfect for the long travels over the seas, and was even improved through the journey - hence the name. Úlfur is a powerful beer which stands firmly next to a pungent Indian meal. Dry, flavorful and even bitter - with tones of fruit.

Lambshanks resting on rice pilaf & candied Carrots

Bon appetit!

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