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50 Great Curries of India
by Camellia Panjabi

Jeera Aloo Salan (Lucknow)
Salan is the Indian Muslim term for a curry of meat and vegetables cooked together. Meat cooked with potatoes is a popular dish all over Northern India and Pakistan. This recipe is from a gourmet Muslim family in Lucknow.
Serves 4


    • 4 potatoes, a little bigger than an egg
    • salt
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
    • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or paprika
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 7oz onions, thinly sliced
    • 2 cinnamon or bay leaves
    • 2 large black cardamoms
    • 2 green cardamoms
    • 1/4 in blade of mace
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
    • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
    • 1½ stewing lamb plus a couple of lamb bones, chopped
    • 1½ small tomatoes, finely chopped


1. Rub the potatoes with a little salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Rinse and dry. Mix the 4 spice powders with 2 teaspoons of water to make a paste Reserve

2. In a large pot, heat the oil and cumin seeds. When hot add the potatoes and saute until golden and crispy. Remove the potatoes and set aside. Strain the cumin seeds from the oil and put 3 tablespoons of the strained oil back into the pot.

3. Add the onions and fry until medium brown, stirring from time to time. Add the cinnamon or bay leaf, the seeds of the black cardamom, the whole green cardamoms, and the mace. Continue to fry until the onions are deep brown, which will take about 25 minutes in all.

4. Add the spice paste and stir fry for a minute or two, then add 2 tablespoons of water. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.

5. Now put in the lamb and bones with the cinnamon and cloves and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring even now and then. Add the tomatoes and let the meat fry in this mixture until the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates.

6. Add 3½ cups of water and 1¼ teaspoons salt. Cover and cook over low heat for 35 minutes. Then put in the tried potatoes and cook until the meat is tender, making sure that the potatoes do not overcook (8-10 minutes). Remove the bones and cinnamon or bay leaf and add more salt if required If you want more curry, add an extra 1/2 cup of water when putting in the potatoes.

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