Tag Archives: lamb

Kashmiri Lamb Stew

My friend Melissa Danielle, a lifestyle coached based in Brooklyn, came over my place a couple of weeks ago and brought with her a pound of stewing lamb from Hudson Valley Harvest. (Truth be told, I thought she was bringing over lamb stew… oops.) I wasn’t really planning on cooking for myself, but the meat needed to be cooked since it was already frozen and thawed. I didn’t even have onions in the house! But, I was saved by this Kashmiri lamb stew recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking — because, while I didn’t have any fresh veg in the house, I had 52 jars of spices and a tub of yogurt to work with!

This stew is beautiful in flavor, if not necessarily very exciting to look at. The flavors are warm, aromatic and comforting… perfect for cool autumn evenings. I ate it with plain basmati rice and naan from Whole Foods that I heated in my toaster oven. I did pick up a few vegetables the next day at the Greenmarket and had a tomato, red onion, and cucumber salad (sprinkled with dried mint and dressed with lemon juice and olive oil) as a starter.


I had to halve the recipe since it called for three pounds of lamb, and I had just over a pound. But, I’ll give the recipe with the original proportions. The only other adjustment I had to make was that I had Greek yogurt — so I used a little less yogurt than called for and thinned it out with a little water so that it would be runny.


Kashmiri Lamb Stew (Kashmiri yakhni)
from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking
Serves 4 to 6


  • 4 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  • pinch of ground asafetida (optional)
  • 3 pounds shoulder of lamb, boned or unboned, cut roughly into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 15 cloves
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 3 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger powder
  • 1 3/4 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala


  1. In an electric spice grinder, grind the fennel seeds into a powder and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat. When hot, add the asafetida, if using. One second later, put in all the meat, as well as the cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves, and salt. Stir and cook, uncovered, over high heat for about five minutes or until almost all the water released by the meat disappears and the meat browns very lightly.
  3. Lower the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon water, the fennel, and the ginger. Stir to mix. Add 3 2/3 cups water, cover partially, and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes.
  4. 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 of it dries out.
  5. Beat the yogurt in a bowl until it is smooth and creamy.
  6. Remove the lid from the pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Push the meat to the edges of the pan, leaving a well in the center. Pour the yogurt very slowly into this well, all the while whisking it briskly into the braising liquid. (If you don’t do this, the yogurt will curdle.) Keep whisking for a good five minutes after all the yogurt has been poured in. You should now have a simmering, creamy sauce.
  7. Cover partially and cook on medium-low heat for 10 more minutes. Sprinkle in the garam masala and mix.

Salt and Pomegranates

I started a dinner series in May called Salt & Pomegranates. I’ve long wanted to explore Persian cuisine and cuisine from the Republic of Georgia. Since I live alone (and, honestly, don’t like cooking for one), I decided to start a supper club, which would give me the opportunity to explore new recipes and to entertain about a dozen people at a time. Two of my favorite activities on earth!


Photo: Melissa Danielle

Why the name? The saltshaker, as you know, is the logo for my personal cheffing business. I decided a while back that any endeavor I undertake would have to have salt somewhere in the title. (For example, I used to hold an art and culinary salon that was called Salt Salon.) And pomegranates are a prominent ingredient in Persian and Georgian cooking. You’d be hard pressed to find a Persian cookbook that didn’t have a pomegranate on the cover. Also, I have fond memories of sitting on the floor of my cousin’s living room, newspaper spread on the coffee table, tearing into pomegranates as a kid. I even have two pomegranates tattooed on my back. Salt & Pomegranates also evokes the savory preparations of pomegranates that is pervasive in dishes from Iran, Georgia, and many countries in between. (Plus, I just think the title sounds kind of poetic.)

Feasts take place in Brooklyn, and I hope to bring them to cities around the US where I have friends posted. Please check out the website — SaltandPomegranates.com — and sign up to receive updates on the Contact Page.

I’ll leave you with a recipe that incorporates salt and pomegranates — Basturma of Lamb, a Georgian kebab recipe from one of the inspirational cookbooks I’ve been working out of.


Photo: Melissa Danielle

Basturma of Lamb
from Darra Goldstein’s The Georgian Feast

Serves 4-6

2 pounds boneless shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
skewers for grilling

2 cups pomegranate juice (see Note, below)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf, crushed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  1. Thread the cubed meat onto skewers and place the kebabs in a deep baking pan or pot just wide enough to accommodate the skewers.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the skewered meat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Allow to marinate overnight, and up to 48 hours.
  3. About an hour before cooking, take the meat out of the refrigerator. Remove the skewers from the marinade and dab with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Allow the meat to come to room temperature. In the meantime, prepare the coals for your grill (if you have a charcoal grill). Grill the kebabs for about ten minutes, flipping them to cook evenly on all sides.

Note: I used bottled, not-from-concentrate pomegranate juice. During the winter, when pomegranates are in season, I would suggest using freshly-squeezed juice.

Real Menus: March 1-14

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated menus. Here is a selection of dishes from the past few weeks.