Curried Lamb Shanks (Raan Shahnshahi)
This recipe and others can be found in the 12-part illustrated series "A World of Curries". You can read all about this unique Indian flavor here.
1 tablespoon saffron strands
4 tablespoons warm milk
1 tablespoon each of almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and raisins
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 cup coconut milk (see recipe, here)
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
10 cloves garlic
1 small green papaya, peeled, seeds removed, and diced
1/2 teaspoon each powdered nutmeg and mace
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
6 fresh red chiles, such as serranos, stems removed
2 cups yogurt
Salt to taste
4 pounds lamb shanks, chopped with a cleaver into 1-inch long sections
4 teaspoons ghee (recipe here) or vegetable oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
Combine the saffron with the milk and puree into a smooth paste in the blender. Set aside
In a food processor or blender, grind all the nuts along with raisins, poppy seeds, and coconut milk, into a smooth paste. Reserve.
In a food processor or blender, grind the ginger, garlic, papaya, nutmeg, mace, coriander, cumin, and chiles into a separate paste. Combine this paste with the yogurt, add salt, and reserve.
In a large saucepan, combine the nut paste, the yogurt paste, and lamb shanks and marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat the ghee or oil in a skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute, add the onions, cook for 1 minute, then add the marinated shanks (with the marinade) and cook, covered, over low heat for 45 to 50 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding cold water if the mixture is too thick. Add the saffron mixture and continue cooking, covered, for another 10 minutes.