39-year-old Binixa’s mother taught her to cook from an early age – so she’d be able to feed her eventual husband!
Now happily married, Binixa takes pride in passing on her skills to other mothers and daughters by running cookery classes where she teaches authentic Indian Gujarat recipes.
This is one of the recipes Binixia learnt as a child and she remembers watching her mother lovingly preparing it for family get-togethers. These days she takes pride in cooking to for her husband, friends and students.
⅓ tsp salt
½ tsp black peppercorns
1.5kg (3lb) shoulder of lamb, cut into 3.5cm (1.in) pieces
1 heaped tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves, to garnish
3 star anise, to garnish
For the sauce
150ml vegetable oil
5 cassia bark sticks (each about 5cm/2in long)
2 black cardamom pods
4 green cardamom pods
5 star anise
1 tsp ground fennel
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp ajwain seeds
16 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 onions, finely chopped
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
12.5cm (5in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
¼ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
2 ½ tsp ground turmeric
2 ½ tsp garam masala
2–3 large green bullet chillies
1 tsp caster sugar
4 tsp salt
200g aubergine, finely chopped and submerged in water for 15 minutes
6 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves, stalks reserved
200g canned chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped chives
For the garlic prawns
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
375g raw tiger prawns, shelled
1/4 tsp salt
For the chapattis
375g wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus a little extra for kneading
190ml hot water
Butter or ghee for dabbing (optional)
For the cucumber salad
7 cherry tomatoes, quartered
115g carrots, finely chopped
65g cucumber, finely chopped
50g red onion, diced
1–2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. First make the sauce. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan for 30 seconds. Add the cassia bark, cardamom pods, star anise and cloves, and simmer gently until fragrant.
2. Add the ground fennel, black pepper and ajwain seeds, then stir in a quarter of the chopped garlic and brown for 20 seconds (be careful not to let it blacken). Add the cumin seeds, allow to sizzle for a few seconds, then add the onions and fenugreek. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes, or until the onions are brown, stirring every 10 minutes.
3. Mix in the ginger and remaining garlic and simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Add the dry spices, bullet chillies, sugar and salt. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Drain the aubergines, squeezing out any excess water, add them to the pan and cook for 5 minutes over a low to medium heat, stirring constantly. Cover and simmer for 20–25 minutes, stirring in the coriander stalks halfway through.
6. Meanwhile, prepare the lamb. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the salt, peppercorns and lamb and stir well. Return to the boil, skim any scum off the surface and continue cooking over a medium heat for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 600ml (1 pint) of the cooking liquid.
7. Add the meat to the sauce and stir over a medium-high heat until evenly mixed. Add the reserved liquid, bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover with a tightly fitting lid. Simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding a little more liquid if it seems dry, but avoid lifting the lid more than absolutely necessary.
8. Add the tomatoes and stir through the curry with the coriander leaves and the chives. Simmer for a further 20 minutes.
9. To prepare the prawns, heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the garlic. Add the prawns and salt and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Tip the contents of the pan into the curry and stir gently. If it is looking a little thick, add 75ml (3fl oz) of the reserved liquid. Simmer gently for a further 10 minutes.
10. To make the chapattis, place the flour and oil in a bowl and rub together until there are no lumps. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in half the hot water. Mix briefly with a spoon, then knead with your hands for 2–3 minutes to form a soft, smooth dough. If it is too hard, add a little water; if it’s too soft, add a little more flour.
11. Break off pieces of the dough weighing about 25g (1oz) and roll them into balls. Flatten in the palm of your hand and dust with dry wholemeal flour. Cover with a tea towel to prevent them from drying out.
12. Place a tawa or frying pan on a high heat for 1–2 minutes. Meanwhile, remove a piece of dough from under the tea towel and roll it into a very thin circle. Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low and add the chapatti. Cook for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, until you see small bubbles appear on the surface. Turn it over and cook the other side until it also begins to bubble. Flip the chapatti over again and press lightly around the edges with a clean, dry cloth while turning it and allowing it to puff up.
13. Transfer to a serving dish, brush with butter or ghee (if using), and cover with a tea towel to keep warm. Repeat to make about 18 more chapattis.
14. To make the cucumber salad, combine the tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and onion in a bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and oil, then add salt to taste.
15. To serve the curry, sprinkle the star anise and chopped coriander on top of the curry, then spoon on to serving plates. Offer the chapattis and salad separately for people to help themselves.