Guess what. I’m doing newyearnewyou. I’m afraid to search my blog history ’cause I can only assume I’ve done it every year of this damn thing. And it’s just so cliché but then again, I do love celebrating dumb holidays. And Januarys are kinda like perverse, not-so-fun holidays in which I embark on an umpteenth Whole30 (+ raw milk, shut up I told you it’s my umpteenth) and alienate myself from my friends because who wants to hang out with a water-drinking, bunless burger-ordering wet blanket. Not me. But fuck you friends, ’cause I don’t wanna hang out with your over-exuberant, blathering drunk faces either! Yes I do. I’m sorry. Please invite me somewhere. It’s February now, I’m considering being fun. Or, closer to fun than other, more normal friends you might have.
So the new-to-me car idea came to a head. Mostly because I couldn’t stand bothering with my poor, rusted out Suby anymore. It doesn’t like starting much. I guess that was the main issue, ’cause that kinda sucks. Then two tires went flat within a couple days of each other. It was sweet. But am I lazy? Am I undeserving of a car? Dammit. Let me be lazy in one area of my life, please. I can’t even sit still for a movie. Have to do a chore. Gotta make tea. Then stir some food that’s inevitably on the stove. Then make more tea. And oh wait, now I have to pee. Hold please. But a car? I forget it exists as soon as I get out and shut the door. Which isn’t helpful when you desperately need to go to a mechanic but are only in the car when you’re rushing to work. Which reminds me, I need to get my bike fixed. Blaahhhhhhh help meeee. So yeah, bought an old Volkswagen. Golf TDI. It’s nice. It’s got the dopiest headlights; I swore I’d never ever get this car because of them. Goddammit.
I don’t know what this dish is. I got started looking at rogan josh recipes. But it’s not rogan josh, or least I didn’t do any research to confirm or deny that statement, so I’m just sticking with it. Plus, generic blog post titles are seemingly my forte now. For the chiles in this I used ancho and these other strange little ones I had. Obviously, your chile choice has a big impact on flavor. Maybe spending thousands of dollars in cash on a car that has the dopiest headlights has made me give less of shit what kinds of chiles you use. Maybe it’s that I was running myself ragged on a Sunday making this after spending the best part of the beautiful sunny day stuck inside at some stodgy luncheon for gardeners whom I’m sure I would have hated if I was to even have bothered talking to anyone besides Maria. I guess the world will never know. In any case, make this with what you’ve got, or if you can find Kashmiri chiles, use those. Or use those smooth chiles that I’m drawing a complete blank on the name of and oh man am I getting tired right now and don’t want to look it up. It’ll all be good. Just don’t use all chipotles. Barf.
As for the spices in this recipe – I always like to use whole seeds, as I’m sure you know by now. But sometimes you just find yourself in a world of suck and don’t happen to have green cardamom pods lying around and the thought of going to the grocery store makes you want to cry. Don’t be a dummy, just use ground. Don’t have ground spices? Well then don’t be a dummy, just go to the grocery store. I’m sorry if this recipe is a pain in your ass. You could be lazy and use all ground spices, buy ghee, not brown the meat…you’ll be dead to me, but then again I’m weary of myself just writing out the steps to this damn thing.
indian lamb shanks
6 dried chiles
black cardamom pods
(green cardamom pods…I used ground)
a real cinnamon stick
saffron (optional, I know it’s mucho expensivo)
a large onion
4-6 lamb shanks
1. Heat a large dry skillet over medium low heat. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and rip them into large pieces so they’ll lie mostly flat in the pan. Flip them around frequently, making sure they don’t burn. You want them to toast a bit and mostly to dry out. Once they are very fragrant and crispy maybe like 10 minutes, grind them in a spice grinder and set aside.
2. Keep that same dry skillet over medium low heat, maybe turning it down a bit since the pan will keep getting hotter. Smash 5 black cardamom pods (and 8 of those green ones if you are smarter than me) with the back of a chef’s knife. Measure out 2 teaspoons fennel seeds and 2 teaspoons cumin seeds. Add the crushed pods and the seeds and crumble 1 stick of cinnamon into the pan. Stir around everything frequently until very fragrant, several minutes. Grind these spices in a spice grinder and add to a small bowl.
3. Add a tablespoon and a half of the chile powder, 1 teaspoon of asafoetida, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom (if you are as smart as me), and a teaspoon of saffron to the bowl of the ground spices and mix.
4. Make ghee…I sorry. You might just want to buy some, but to make it – heat butter over medium heat till boiling, then reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for like 8 – 10 minutes, till it’s golden. Then strain it with cheesecloth or skim the milk solids off the top. Sweet, done.
5. Chop the onion, mince about a tablespoon of peeled ginger, and mince 6 garlic cloves. Set aside.
6. Heat a few tablespoons of ghee over high heat in an oven proof pot. Add the lamb shanks in batches to brown, several minutes per side. Salt and pepper them. Put to the side when they’re browned.
7. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the chopped veggies. Sauté until nicely browned. Add 2 cups of water or broth, the spice mix, and salt and pepper. Stir to mix, then add back the lamb shanks. Add additional water to mostly cover the shanks.
8. Preheat the oven to 225. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then put in the oven for 5 – 6 hours.
Holy crap. Okay. Well, to finish it off, put the pot back on the stovetop and boil to reduce the sauce. Garnish with cilantro. Goodnighty.