A tasty lamb stew needs spices. The use of coconut milk is what makes this lamb stew different from how I usually cook my meat. I typically cook lamb with lots of spices and recently decided to get more ideas from other cultures. Although many of the Caribbean islands cook with coconut milk, it is not widely used in Haitian cooking. We do have a rice dish and a cornmeal dish cooked in coconut milk.
I may sound like a broken record, but I cannot say it enough. Lamb must be cleaned, and washed with vinegar, lemon or lime and cooked with an acidic agent to remove the raw odor. Just remember that, and you will be fine cooking lamb more often.
My Spicy Coconut Lamb Stew is made with two main ingredients, Garam Marsala and Pikliz. India meets Haiti! Why not, right! If there is an abundance of spices in the world, why not try them all. What can go wrong?
The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with many recipes across India according to regional and personal taste,and none is considered more authentic than others. The components of the mix are toasted, then ground together.
A typical Indian version of garam masala contains:
- black and white peppercorns
- Cinnamon or cassia bark
- nutmeg and mace
- black and green cardamom pods
- Bay leaf
Some recipes call for spices to be blended with herbs, while others for the spices to be ground with water, vinegar, coconut milk, or other liquids, to make a paste. In some recipes nuts, onion, or garlic may be added. Some recipes also call for small quantities of star anise, asafoetida, stone flower or Dagadphool and Kababchini (Cubeb). The flavors may be carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect, or a single taste may be emphasized. A masala may be toasted before use to release its flavors and aromas. (Wikipedia, 2015)
For the stew, I added my typical Haitian Pikliz to bring out the flavors of the garam masala more. It is a hit every time. And with the coconut milk, it seems that those three ingredients were made for one another. The rest is history. Try my Spicy Coconut Lamb Stew today and don’t forget to drop me a note.
Spicy Coconut Lamb Stew
- 6 pounds lamb shoulder blade chop about 4 blades
- White vinegar lemon or lime juice to clean meat
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 2 – 3 tablespoons Pikliz
- 2 ½ cup coconut milk
- Clean meat with vinegar, lemon or lime juice. Rinse well and pat dry. In a large, heavy nonstick frying pan over high heat, warm oil. When the oil is hot, add a few of the lamb pieces
- and sear until they are lightly brown but not cooked through, about 2 - 3 minutes each sides.
- Remove from pan and set aside on a platter. Repeat in batches with remaining meat pieces.
- In the same pan, add onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add Pikliz and stir to mix.
- Add lamb pieces and coconut milk. Mix gently and well.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat is tender enough to be broken apart with a utensil. Cooking time may be about 1 hour 15 minutes or 1 hour 30 minutes. Season to taste and serve with rice preferably.
Best to leave fat from lamb pieces for the meat to properly sear.
Serve with white rice preferably, but any other grains will do.