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Hyderabadi lamb with tender tamarind leaves (Chingur gosht)

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

Tender tamarind leaves arrive in Hyderabad for a short period in April. They are a delicacy and folks are crazy about them. Tender, tinged with red and delicate, these leaves, flowers and baby tamarind pods are sought after for their delicate sour flavor. This dish is the most common traditional dish made with these leaves. Their flavor is a subtle herby sourness, nowhere as strong as the tamarind pulp, that infused the curry in delicate notes.

This dish is spectacular, the fall apart meat is coated with a delicate sour curry full of the tender leaves. The spices add nuances to this dish. I love discovering new ingredients, and this one is a wonderful find.

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1 tablespoons oil

5 onions, thinly sliced

6-8 green chilies, slit in half and cut into 4 pieces, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon ginger paste

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1 lb lamb meat with bone

2 cups water

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 cups tender tamarind leaves

Salt to taste

Cilantro, minced

To temper:

1 tablespoon oil

3 dried red chilies

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Heat the oil to a deep pot on medium heat and sauté the onions till light brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the green chilies and the ginger and garlic pastes and sauté for 1 minute till the ginger turns fragrant. Add the dried spices. Except, ground cumin, and sauté for an additional 20 seconds.

Add the lamb chunks and continue to sauté till the meat is coated in the spices and has turned brown on the outside. Be careful not to burn the spices by stirring and tossing the contents regularly. Add the water and bring to a simmer. You can finish cooking the meat in any of the following methods: Insta-pot on the meat setting, pressure cooker for 15 minutes, or simmer on the stove for 75-90 minutes. The meat should be fall apart tender.

Finish the dish by adding the ground cumin, tamarind leaves, and salt and simmering for an additional 15 minutes. The finished dish should have a thick curry that clings to the meat. Taste and adjust salt.

Heat the oil for tempering in a very small pot and add the tempering ingredients in the order listed. The mustard seeds will pop in about 10 seconds, dump the tempered oil and spices into the curry and mix in.

Serve in bowls sprinkled with some chopped cilantro and with plain white basmati rice.

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