The magnificent Raan Curry for Christmas beckons

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If the Turkey for Christmas is getting a bit hackneyed and the ham has soured, consider the Raan dish. I won’t bother with giving you the exact details in grams ounces or kilos. Try and create your own Raan by just imagining tasting the combination of the different herbs, spices and ingredients.

You know that if you put in a kilo of salt the dish is likely to be very salty. Cooking is very much anticipating how things will taste by mixing and imagining the taste of the mixed ingredients before cooking. The religious following of recipes with the book propped up against the kitchen whisk is never going to be a surprise. Not as a failed dish nor of a basking in the glory of an unimaginable masterpiece, hailed by Rick Stein, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and all your guests for years to come. Take the risk!

So, here we go. The bulk of this dish is mutton or at least a large leg of sheep. You need a well aged leg not a lamb leg although that is permissible as well. This dish is Northern India and as you travel up further north, the Indian cuisine starts to be less chilli hot and becomes more infused with the sweetness of yoghurt and dried fruit, raisins, currants etc. of the Northern regions.

The secret of this dish is that the leg of mutton is allowed to cure or ‘cook’ for about three days in the fridge by the acidity of the marinade. The marinade has to be enough to cover the meat. Voila, you need plenty of good quality yoghurt, the juice of about 4 lemons about 200 grams of raisons and currants, a tablespoon of turmeric, a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon, about 4 red-hot chillies, some cloves and about two teaspoons of cardamom, salt and sugar.

Mix the marinade in a mixer and let stand for about one hour, mix again. In the meantime pierce the leg and insert cloves of garlic. Good juicy garlic and not the cheap Chinese tasteless carton stuff. Poor the marinade over the lamb in a dish large enough to hold the leg.

Put in the fridge and leave for about two to three days occasionally turning the meat.
Then… as the excitement mounts…pre-heat oven to 200c and cook the lamb for about 30 minutes. Turn heat to 160c and cook 45 minutes for every kilo of the meat. It is cooked when the meat falls off the bone. When it does. Turn off the oven. Boil basmati rice.

I was amazed some years ago when we had Japanese students living in our house they were using an electric rice cooker. When I told them I thought the Japanese had invented boiling rice, they smiled politely but they never tried my system. She said, oh no… too risky! Can you believe it?
Here is how to boil rice; Just cover the rice with one finger digit of water on top of the rice and bring quickly to boil without the lid on. When water is disappearing and holes appear in the rice, put on the lid and turn the gas off. Wait for about twenty minutes and the rice should be dry crumbly and cooked. Perfect

Now, this is the important bit… Break the lamb into bite size chunks, put on the plate with the rice and pour some of the marinade over the lot. Some chutney or cucumber with yoghurt as a side dish compliments the dinner. Have it with chilled water with lime slices floating on top. Don’t muck around with wine. It spoils it. Have it afterwards.
Enjoy and let me know the results.

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15 Responses to “The magnificent Raan Curry for Christmas beckons”

  1. Chris Says:

    That is beautiful. I love those sweeter fruity style curries and your background explaining the regional part makes it all fall into place.
    Yummo!

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Bon appetite. When the PM Whitlam was sacked in 1976, a labour party member had a ‘maintain the rage’ party each year where he would serve a curry. He just used curry powder, even so it was much the rage. A maintain the rage curry.πŸ˜‰

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  2. roughseasinthemed Says:

    Partner cooks the rice in our house. He learned to cook it in a Chinese chippy, and I have to say he has never cooked a bad batch yet in nearly 30 years. Instead of letting it steam though, he strains it in boiling water. Me, I do it differently again, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Boiling rice is a simple job but many struggle with it and this prevents the use and eating of rice. Sorry for the inclusion of mutton roughasinthemed. I am sure you have made this dish using vegetables.

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      • roughseasinthemed Says:

        I’ve done leg of lamb stuffed with garlic in the past and/or rosemary. I’m a bit wary with cinnamon and cloves, but the other spices were fine. We had a curry the other night because Partner insisted on a take-away on the grounds I would be sick of washing upπŸ˜€ but I wasn’t too impressed with it, I could have made a far better one😦

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You might be pleased to know I like washing up. We have a dish washer but am opposed to it on the ground of wasting power and noise. H. makes a terrific lasagne. Grandkids beg for it. I sometimes get an urge for pancakes with golden syrup. How’s the ankle?

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      • roughseasinthemed Says:

        Anyone who likes washing up is a fine person in my book. Partner is amazed I can take all day to do it. I have got this down to a fine art. We have a dishwasher in Spain. When I am on my own I don’t use it. When we are both there we do. Wonderful. And he washes the pans and glasses. Men were made for washing up.

        I make a good one too. Mainly because it’s not that ghastly stodgy concoction they serve up out. Usually aubergines, courgettes, onions, fresh tomatoe sauce, and a fairly thin white sauce.

        Pancakes should be served with gravy. As a starter. Like Yorkshire pudding (which of course is NOT steamed but baked).

        Ankle pretty much ok. Bit stiff/inflexible but it works well enough and saved me a hospital trip and endless wasted time and mucking about with my failing body. Or should that be falling body?

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      • Andrew Says:

        Lamb is my favourite meat. Well I am Welsh. And curry is a fine British dish. I think I could go for this. We have a rice cooker. I had never heard of them until I moved to HK. Seems unnecessary but they work.

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  3. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Wow, I got hungry just ready that. Sadly, my husband will not let curry pass his lips (at his boarding school bad meat was always curried).

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      ‘Bad meat curried’? That sounds like Kafka on the night train without a ticket.
      My dad could not eat lamb but mum used to spread Keen’s mustard over it and told him it was veal.
      She loved dad.

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  4. Patti Kuche Says:

    Kafka on the night train and lamb dressed up as veal . . . priceless! Oh and that recipe sounds so good but how do I disguise the lamb for Mr Kuche who hates the stuff? He had too much old mutton as a child . . ..

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      What’s wrong with men? Your Mr Kuche is the second one who doesn’t take to lamb. My dad was the same. He said, the bleating of lambs for their mothers was a childhood experience he could never forget.
      He did not link that to the painful bleating of mothers giving birth to babies and insist on a vow of abstinence. He, with the assistance of mum produced 6 lambs.πŸ˜‰

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  5. The River Says:

    Who knew a recipe could be such a great read?!

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  6. Lottie Nevin Says:

    This receipe sounds so good, Gerard. I shall be book-marking this page and making it sometime in the next few weeks. YUM! we havent’ got a conventional oven here so I’m experimenting by using the brazier/woodburner for roasting things. Last night I lowered a chicken wrapped in foil onto the embers and shut the lid – one and a half hours later we had a perfect succulent roast. I need to find some way to get the food in and out of the ‘cooker’ – you load wood/food in from the top and it gets very hot – a little more practice and I’m sure we will come up with a solution.

    I’m envious of your rice cooking prowess – when we moved to Indonesia I bought one of those electric rice cookers and they are brilliant for people like me who can’t cook rice. I make a mean curry though!!πŸ˜€

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  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    I think your wood-burner oven might be perfect for Raan. The dish needs to cook slowly and if possible try and wrap it so that it doesn’t dry out. Perhaps inside a good dish with a lid and take it out when the fire has died down. Have your neighbours showed you how to use the wood cooker? Often there are tricks that one struggles with while a solution is next door!
    Chuffed that I am now book marked. I never thought I would reach that level. πŸ˜‰

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