Lamb and banana curry

Tried this one tonight. No idea where I got it from – it was in my recipes folder from several years ago.

20g flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Curry powder
1 kg shoulder lamb chops, boned
2 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
500 ml chicken stock (NB – I used much less)
Rind of 1 lemon, finely shredded
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
20g seedless raisins
3 large firm bananas
1 lemon juice
30g butter, melted
20g light brown sugar
Hot cooked rice

Oven: 175°C

Cut the lamb into 2cm chunks. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper with one tablespoon curry powder and mix well. Toss the lamb cubes in the mixture until coated. Brown in a heavy saucepan, using a little oil if necessary.

Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes. Skim off any excess fat (I didn’t have any). Add the celery, chicken stock, lemon rind and ginger. Cover and simmer for fifty minutes. Add the raisins and simmer for fifteen minutes more, or until very tender.

While the lamb is cooking, cut the bananas in 1 cm thick slices diagonally. Put in a 20 cm pie pan and sprinkle with the lemon juice, butter, and the brown sugar mixed with one teaspoon curry powder.

Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until lightly browned and glazed. Serve the lamb stew over hot cooked rice and top with the curried bananas. Serves six.

I served it also with two hearty vegetables; broccoli and swede (aka rutabaga).

Comment: I am generally a bit suspicious of curry powder – I prefer to do my own spice mix from first principles – but I was not inclined to work too hard this evening, so I used it anyway.

The hairiest moment was the nonchalant instruction to brown the curry/flour coated meat chunks in a heavy pan. The recipe clearly implies that only wimps would use cooking oil at this stage. Well, I’m a wimp, and even so kept scraping away at the pan with my wooden spoon to prevent the flour from sticking and burning – successfully, I’m glad to say.

My biggest concern, as ever with a stew recipe, was that the stew would be too runny and the meat too hard. I think it would have benefited from another 15 mins but basically it had reached the point where it was fine after an hour and a bit. The amount of liquid recommended in the recipe, 500ml, is absurd; half of that was quite enough.

The bananas are sheer genius and lift what’s basically a rather average curry recipe into something quite special. Bananas should be used more often in savoury recipes; they add a great texture to a main dish. Because of the bananas, I felt justified in not being too adventurous with the spices. A touch of allspice, cardamom or fenugreek might have helped though.

The family enjoyed it. It took quite a long time, but not really a lot of work, so I will probably try it again some time.

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