What is curry? and, what is lamb shank curry? It can be anything, right? As long as there is a mixture of different spices. There is nothing standard about “curry” and the word is loosely used for any cooking style as long as it has a complex flavour and mixture of dry and wet spices to make the sauce for the main ingredient. It can be a dry dish or a wet dish. If you google the word “curry”, also known as “kari” in Malaysia, it seems to originate from India.
Curry is a dish loved by every Malaysian. It is a staple dish for the Malay, Indian and Chinese. Each has its own flavour and taste based on their traditional style of cooking and preparation and use of spices. There is a variety of curry dishes in Malaysia and they are different from other curry dishes in the world – India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand. Is there a food category that has more variety of dishes than “curry”? I couldn’t think of one.
I have never use a lamb shank for my own cooking and for a curry dish. The most commonly meat and cut that I use is either a chicken thigh, pork shoulder and ribs or beef chuck and ribs. The only reason that I have decided to cook lamb shank for the first time was because I saw the price was AUD$10/kg at a local “Halal” butcher shop. The shanks were quite small but very fresh. I bought three pieces of lamb shank, which came to AUD$10.80! I asked the butcher to cut each of the shank in half to make it easier for my cooking.
- 1 kg lamb shanks
- 3-4 potatoes
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 5 kaffir lime leafs
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anises
- 3 cloves
- 150 gm dessicated coconut
- 1/2 cup dark caramelised sauce
- 2 cups tamarind water
- Spice paste or “rempah” in Malaysia word
Rempah or Spice Paste
- 3 fresh red chillies
- 5 dried chillies – pre-soaked until soft
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 thumb size ginger
- 1 thumb size galangal
- 1 thumb size turmeric
- 2 red onions
To make the rempah or spice paste, chop all the ingredients and mix in a blender into a fine paste.
- Heat some oil in a deep sauce pan until it is fairly hot
- Toss in the dry spices – cinnamon, star anise, cloves. Gently move the spices around in the hot oil until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the spices
- Toss in the the wet spice paste “rempah” and lemongrass. Gently stir fry for a few minutes until you can smell the aromatic fragrance released from the spice paste
- Add the lamb shanks and mix through with the spice paste until they are well coated
- Add the tamarind water. Once boiling, turn down the heat to slow simmer. Add the kaffir lime leafs. Simmer in low heat for 3-4 hours. Add potatoes. Continue to slow cook until potatoes are cooked
- While the lamb and potatoes are cooking, dry toast the dessicated coconut in a frying pan until golden brown
- Add the toasted dessicated coconut once you are ready to serve the lamb shank curry. Make sure the dessicated coconut is mixed through thoroughly
- Ready to serve.