Nigel Slater’s recipe for lamb with tomato, coconut and coriander

Lifestyle

The recipe
An uncomplicated curry. You’ll need your favourite blend of curry spices.

Warm 3 tbsp of groundnut or vegetable oil in a straight-sided, shallow pan. Season a best end of lamb fillet (weighing 350g of thereabouts) with a little black pepper, then let it sizzle in the oil for about 5 minutes, turning it every now and again until the outside is evenly browned. Remove the lamb from the pan, cover, and let it rest.

Peel and halve 1 medium-sized, brown-skinned onion, then slice it thinly. Add the onion to the oil in which you browned the lamb and let it cook over a moderate heat for 10 minutes or so, until it has softened and is starting to turn pale gold. Stir in 2 tsp of curry powder and a little salt. While the onion is cooking, peel and thinly slice 3 plump cloves of garlic and peel and grate 30g of ginger, then add to the pan.

Cut 400g of small, sweet-sharp tomatoes into small pieces, then mix them with the softened onions. Leave everything to simmer, giving it the occasional stir, for 10 minutes or so, until you have a thick, red-brown sauce. Stir in 2 tsp of garam masala.

Slice the lamb, each piece about the thickness of a pencil, then add them to the pan together with the contents of a 400g can of coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a gentle bubble and leave for 10 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Chop the leaves and fine stalks from 40g of coriander, stir into the sauce and check the seasoning. Serves 2

The trick
Use your favourite blend of curry spices, mild or hot, as the mood takes you. The coconut milk has a softening effect here, so I use a hot blend.

The twist
You could divide the tomatoes in half, add the first batch as per the recipe and leave it to simmer down to a thick sauce, then introduce the second half nearer the end, to give a little more texture to the dish. The second time I made this recipe, I stirred in 3 tsp of double cream and the sauce became pleasingly soft and silky.