So what makes this a "Christian" dish?? It's mainly a matter of dietary laws and restrictions. Many of the dishes introduced by both Christian and Muslim people are different from other dishes in the region because they're non-vegetarian and meat-centric.
This is a great dish for friends not used to eating Indian food as it's not too hot and features something that almost everyone loves... coconut! It can be dressed up with a lot of vegetable sides, or served as I did with a simple spinach dish, or even plain old chapattis.
Here's my adaptation of a recipe from Sryrian Christian Chef George K George.
Lamb And Coconut Curry
Cut 1 lb of lamb into one inch sized pieces and set them aside.
1 tsp of Kashmiri chili powder or 1/2 tsp of cayenne and 1/2 tsp of paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp of peppercorns
2 star anise
a 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
The seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
3 Tbs of white vinegar
Blend it well until you have a paste.
Put the lamb into a heavy skillet or kadhai. I used the Clay Coyote Flameware Skillet that Paula Wolfert gave me... it's all the earthiness of clay and yet it's sturdy as hell.
Mix in the spice paste you've just ground along with:
1 medium onion thinly sliced
2 sliced shallots
A 1 inch piece of ginger cut into thin strips
2/3 cup of grated coconut
salt to taste
4 Tbs of water (you might need a little but more..eyeball it to make sure)
Finally, in a separate skillet heat:
4 Tbs of coconut oil
Saute 2 onions thinly sliced along with another 10 curry leaves.
Cook the onions until they're nice and brown.
Add this to the lamb dish when you are ready to serve along with 3 Tbs of fresh chopped cilantro.
Meanwhile, I'm prepping my Christmas dinner. This year I'll be doing prime rib for the first time and I'll be doing it with a salt crust. Yikes! Alans' birthday is the 29th so we'll be rounding off the year with an Indian Birthday Feast. No goat this year... but something just as good!
For everyone who's celebrating or has been celebrating this season, may all the best be yours!