Bal Arneson's Spiced Lamb with Mango Sauce

Looking for something different to serve over the holidays? This lamb curry with mango – made without butter or cream – fits the bill if you’re looking for something rich in flavor without being heavy, and a little more exotic than the usual turkey and trimmings. Best-selling Vancouver cookbook author and Food Network host Bal Arneson knows Indian cooking – from a small village in Punjab, India, she learned how to cook from her elders when she was just seven years old, over coals in a small clay pit.

Now a successful writer, TV host and teacher of Indian cooking, her books are my go-to reference when I’m looking for reliable, healthy Indian recipes.

From her book: If it were up to me, I would add mangoes to everything. In this dish, cardamom, fenugreek, and garam masala balance out the sweetness of the mango. I had originally planned to use raw sugar, but with mangoes in season, I used them instead. The result is absolutely delicious. In this recipe, I am using mango juice, which can be purchased in a box or a bottle from most grocery stores.

Mangoes are a rich source of vitamin A and antioxidants. If only I had known all this when I was a child. Whenever I’d climb up the mango tree, my mother would frown and tell me only boys were allowed to do the climbing. I would have responded by listing the health properties of mangoes to justify my mango picking!

Spiced Lamb with Mango Sauce

Reprinted with permission from Bal’s Quick and Healthy Indian by Bal Arneson (Whitecap)

3 Tbsp (45 mL) grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped ginger
1 Tbsp (15 mL) garam masala
1 Tbsp (15 mL) cumin seeds
1 Tbsp (15 mL) coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp (5 mL) ground turmeric
salt to taste
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
1 lb (500 g) stewing lamb, cut into pieces
14 oz (398 mL) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup (250 mL) mango juice
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable broth
2 medium green chilies, finely chopped
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into bite-sized pieces

Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion starts to soften and turn brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garam masala, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric, and salt and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the lamb, then brown for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, mango juice, vegetable broth, and green chilies and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer, stirring regularly, until the lamb is soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add the mango pieces to the skillet, then turn the heat off. Cover the skillet and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving with rice. Serves 4.

Who says Indian cooking has to be complicated? Following the national success of her first cookbook, Everyday Indian, Vancouver author Bal Arneson brings new twists to classic Indian meals in her new book Bal’s Quick and Healthy Indian. Bal’s recipes are authentic yet easy to follow, and lower in fat than many Indian recipes, which can be laden with ghee, oil and cream. If you have an adventurous cook on your holiday gift list, Bal’s new book is a great choice – her food pleases the most sophisticated of Indian palates, yet is simple enough for weeknight cooking.

Photos and recipe reprinted with permission from Bal’s Quick and Healthy Indian by Bal Arneson (Whitecap)

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