As the weather in the Eastern Cape cools down ahead of winter, thoughts turn to warmer food such as curry.
In Curry, freelance food and culture journalist Ishay Govender-Ypma has written a gorgeous recipe book containing stories and recipes from across South Africa.
As the title suggests, the 90 or so recipes are for curries and they range from subtle to strong, mild to fiery across ingredients including seafood, lamb, beef, tripe and even goat.
Ishay explores the fascinating story of this favourite South African dish and through her travels and conversations with more than 60 cooks and food experts, threads together the aromatic flavours behind this dish in this country.
Try this hearty yet satisfying recipe for lamb curry with carrots and peas. Even though good quality lamb will cook quickly, Illa (whose recipe it is) says that this curry takes roughly two hours to cook and infuse.
The majority of the cooking should be on low heat. Serve with bowls of sambals, pickles and dessicated coconut.
Illa’s Lamb Curry with Carrots
50ml coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
15ml (1 tablespoon) ground fennel
15ml (1 tablespoon) cumin seeds
4-5 star anise
10 cardamom pods
45ml (3 tablespoons) hot chilli powder
60ml (4 tablespoons) ginger and garlic paste
1kg leg of lamb (with bone), cut into chunks
45ml (3 tablespoons) garam masala
500ml (2 cups) water, plus extra if needed
1 x 410g can of tomato and onion relish, blended into a puree
300g carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
300g frozen peas
Rice, sambals, sliced bananas, poppadums and carrot pickle
In a large, heavy-based saucepan on medium heat, add the oil and fry the onion until it browns.
Add all the spices, excluding the garam masala. Turn the heat down and stir to mix well.
Add the lamb (dried on paper towels) and masala and turn up the heat to medium-high to brown the lamb for a minute.
Add 500m of the water and cook on medium-low heat with the lid on, until the lamb softens, about 40 minutes.
Lower the heat, add the tomato puree and carrots and simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water if needed and check frequently. You want gravy but you don’t want the curry to become watery.
Add the peas in the last few minutes.