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Kashmiri Lamb Stew

4 tsp whole fennel
6 Tbl veg oil or ghee
pinch ground asafetida optional
3 lb shoulder of lamb boned or unboned cut into 2 in cubes
a 1 inch stick of cinnamon
10 whole cardamon pods
15 whole cloves
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 pints (845 ml) water
1 1/2 tsp dried ginger pwdr
15 fl oz (425 ml) plain yoghurt
1/4 tsp garam masala

Put fennel seeds into a clean coffee grinder or other spice grinder
and grind until you have a powder.

Heat the oil in a heavy, wide pot over high heat. When hot, put
in the asafetida. One second later, put in all of the meat, as
well as the cinnamon, cardamon, cloves and salt. Stir and cook,
uncovered, over high heat for about 5 min or until almost all of
the water released by the meat disappears and the meat browns
lightly. Lower heat to medium and add 1 T water, the fennel, and
ginger. Stir to mix. Add 1 1/2 pints water, cover partially, and
simmer on med heat for 30 minutes. Cover completely, turn the heat
to low and simmer for 40 minutes or until the meat is tender. Stir
a few times as the meat cooks, adding a few tablespoons of water
if it seems to dry out. Beat the yoghurt in a bowl until it is
smooth and creamy.

Remove the cover from the meat pot and turn the heat to medium-low.
Push the meat to the edges of the pot, leaving a well-like space
in the center. Pour the yoghurt very slowly into the center while
moving a slotted spoon back and forth quite fast in that area.
(If you don't do this, the yoghurt will curdle.) Keep stirring
for 5 minutes after the yoghurt has been added. You should now
have a simmering, creamy sauce. Cover partially and continue to
cook on medium-low heat for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the
garam masala and mix.


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