Surfing the Indian food blogs has opened up new frontiers within the realm of Indian cuisine for me. I get a virtual treat through posts that are beautifully engineered with delectable presentations and I also have new recipes to try out. One such recipe was Marag from Nabeela of Trial and Error.
Visitors with vegetarian preferences followed by a much needed vacation for me, kept me from trying Nabeela's Marag. It was, however, the first real meal I cooked on our return. I did put my own spin on it, of course. What is a recipe without one's own special touch? I do have an admiring audience at home, whose expectations must be met in order to maintain my reputation!
Marag is not a misspelling of murg; it is an Arabic term for a spicy stew or curry. It could be tomato based and have a medley of vegetables in it. Nabeela's recipe is the Hyderabadi version of Lamb Marag. It is usually made with lamb meat for stew. Interestingly enough, marag is also a Gaelic term for blood pudding! I am not sure how I feel about blood pudding but one thing is for sure, the marag I made was simply out-of-this-world delicious!
I tripled Nabeela's recipe as I had about 3 lbs of boneless lamb.
Nabeela's recipe calls for most of the cooking in a pressure cooker, with some cooking in the microwave. I made mine in a slow cooker.
The list of ingredients appears daunting but it's a really easy recipe to follow and make.
- 3 lbs boneless lamb, trimmed and diced
- 2 large onions
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pure ghee
- 3 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 tamalpatra
- 6 green cardamoms
- 9 cloves
- 30 peppercorns
- 2 tbsp ginger paste
- 2 tbsp garlic paste
- 7-8 Thai green chillies
- 2 bunches of cilantro, chopped fine
- 2 cups plain yogurt, preferably homemade
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp black pepper powder, freshly ground
- Salt to taste
- Heat the olive oil and ghee in a saucepan.
- Add all the whole spices and cook on medium heat until the spices release a heavenly aroma. Do not let the whole spices turn dark in color or burn.
- Dice the onion and blend it in a blender to a fine paste. Add this onion paste to the oil and spices.
- Add the ginger and garlic pastes and saute on high for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer this to the slow cooker and add the meat and yogurt.
- Blend the green chillies well in about 1 cup of water. Strain this mixture, reserve the chilli water and discard the residue. Add this to the slow cooker.
- Add the finely chopped cilantro.
- Add the garam masala and salt. Mix well.
- Slow cook on High for 1 hour, followed by 2 hours on Low.
- Do a taste test to see if you like it soupy or with a thick sauce. I loved the flavors so much that I could see myself slurping on the sauce. So I added 2 cups of water to make it more soupy. Adjust for salt if you do what I did.
- Add freshly ground black pepper just before serving with hot naan or toasted sourdough bread.
This is my new comfort food! It's easy to make! It's hearty, spicy and delicious! Never before have we consumed 3 lbs of lamb within a week. Last week, we had marag for at least 3 meals and quite honestly, I could have had it for a few more, too!
This recipe is a keeper and it's something I will be making on a regular basis, especially in the cold autumn days.
Thank you, Nabeela!