Chappal Kebab with Fresh Green Chutney and Almond-Raisin Basmati

Freshly-ground pastured lamb with onions, garlic, chiles and toasted spices is sizzled in cardamom-scented ghee and  served over almond-raisin basmati with a chutney of fresh mint, coriander, ginger and yogurt..

Chappal Kebab with Fresh Green Chutney and Almond-Raisin Basmati

For the Chutney (adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Wash fresh mint and coriander (cilantro) leaves, pat dry and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the ginger, yogurt and lemon juice.  Pulse until finely chopped, then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Rice

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons raisins, chopped
2 tablespoons raw almonds, blanched, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon dried rose hips (optional)
1 teaspoon good curry powder

Cook rice in stock in the normal manner, then add raisins,  almonds, rose hips and curry.  Stir to combine.  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons pan juices from the following recipe just before serving.

Chappal Kebab

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted
6 cloves
1 tablespoon sweet cinnamon shards
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/3 of a whole nutmeg

1 pound freshly-ground pastured lamb
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 hot green chiles, minced
2 tablespoons ghee
6 green cardamom pods
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
1 fresh bay leaf

Grind the first 6 ingredients together in a coffee or spice grinder and set aside.

Loosely combine ground lamb together in a bowl with onions, garlic, chiles and ground spices.  Divide mixture into 8 2oz pieces, using your hands to roll each into a not too-tightly packed ball, then set aside.

Heat ghee in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add cardamom pods, bay and curry leaves and sizzle 2 minutes.  Add lamb and cook until cooked through and crispy-brown on the outside, about 15 minutes.  Briefly set aside to drain, then strain some of the butter & pan juices into the rice.

To serve, spoon rice into the center of a serving dish and arrange lamb over the top.  Dress with chilled green chutney and serve immediately.

Vegetarian Pindi Chana

A traditional, healing curry of tomatoes, onions, chiles, cashews and spices fried in ghee with chickpeas, plump raisins, fresh pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

Pindi Chana

Pindi Chana

2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 plum tomatoes
1 small white onion
2-4 small green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly-grated ginger
2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter (substitute olive oil for vegan option)
1/2 cup large black raisins
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1 teaspoon crushed star anise
1/2 tablespoon turmeric
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet cinnamon shards
1 1/2 teaspoons hulled cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon minced curry leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup filtered water

Heat ghee in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and all of the whole spices (including bay) and sauté until onions are browned, about 5 minutes.

Stir in turmeric and paprika to form a thick paste.

Add chiles and tomatoes and continue to cook until tomatoes have released their water, about 5 minutes.

Add chickpeas, water, raisins and remaining spices and simmer 15 minutes.

Add cashews, pomegranate seeds and cilantro and stir to combine.

Serve accompanied with aged basmati rice or flat-bread.

Coconut Curry Chicken

Yoghurt-marinated coconut curry chicken with jasmine rice, toasted cashews, raisins and creamed spinach..


Remove the skin and bone from fresh, pastured chicken (I prefer thigh pieces for this) and cut into large pieces.  Marinate 4 hours or overnight in a combination of plain, whole milk yoghurt, coconut milk, turmeric, curry powder and black pepper.

To prepare, heat ghee in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and cracked green cardamom pods, coriander, cloves, black pepper, shards of Ceylon cinnamon and a whole red or green chili that has been slit open with the tip of a knife. Sauté, stirring continuously until brown.

Add chicken pieces and all of the yoghurt marinade to the pot, and stir to comine with the onions.  Thin with a little filtered water or chicken stock, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and rinse a bunch of fresh spinach, cilantro and parsley.  Blanch in boiling water for several seconds, then purée with an immersion blender or food processor.  Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Meanwhile, prepare jasmine rice according to package directions.  Remove from heat, add raisins and cover until raisins are plump and all the water has been absorbed.

To serve, ladle spinach onto the center of the plate, top with rice and spoon curried chicken over the top.  Dress with toasted cashews and chopped parsley or cilantro.

Spotted Dog

Also called railway cake, this recipe starts out as Irish soda bread..

Adapted from numerous recipes found on the internet

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oat flour
2 teaspoons non-refined sugar or other sweetener
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg

Sift the dry ingredients together then add the caraway, raisins and milk.  The dough will be soft, damp and a little tacky.  Turn out into a standard loaf pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until the loaf passes the toothpick test.

Try it toasted with jam for breakfast.

Tastes best the 1st day, but will last 2 if sealed in an airtight container.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ –

Coconut Chicken Curry

Moisten unsweetened organic coconut with maple syrup- just enough to give it a pale tan color, then place into a 250 degree oven until dry and deep golden brown in color, about 30 minutes.

Poach skinless bone-in chicken in stock with celery, onion, carrot and peppercorns until just cooked.  Transfer chicken to a cutting board to cool. Reserve the stock.

Gather cardamom, corriander, cloves, turmeric, cayenne and cumin. Toast the whole spices in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until they pop, then grind and combine with the other ground spices.

Saute onions and spices in ghee until onions are soft.

Add reserved poaching stock and the juice of 1 lemon to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Add torn, poached chicken, raisins and coconut milk and continue to simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Add garbanzo beans, stir and simmer another 5 minutes.  Adjust seasoning.

Serve with basmati rice and top with scallions, chopped peanuts and toasted coconut

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦