I was so pleased when I was able to write this recipe so it could be completed within the thirty-minute limit. The key is simply to have the oven preheated to the correct temperature before you start cooking, then you should have plenty of time to roast the lamb even if your preference is well done. I serve this Punjabi recipe with naan breads or rotis.
If you can’t find fresh okra, use frozen, straight from the freezer. And although okra is one of my favourite vegetables, I realise it isn’t to everyone’s taste, so substitute green beans if you’d rather.
600g boneless lamb rump or neck fillets, at room temperature
2 mild green chillies
2 red onions
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaf powder
1 spring onion
fresh coriander leaves
For the spice paste
1 tablespoon Garlic Paste (page 220)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaf powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste
½ teaspoon garam masala
Remove the lamb from the fridge so it comes to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6, line a roasting tray with kitchen foil, shiny side up, and assemble all the ingredients and other equipment before you begin. You also need a large nonreactive bowl and a large non-stick sauté or frying pan with a lid.
Cut the lamb into bite-sized pieces, trimming and discarding any fat, then put it in the bowl. To make the paste, squeeze in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, then add the garlic paste, vegetable oil, dried fenugreek leaf powder, ground coriander, chilli powder and garam masala, and season with salt. Mix everything together so the lamb is well coated.
Spread out the lamb in a single layer in the roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender. It should be medium-well at this point, but you can roast for longer or less time, depending on how you like your lamb cooked.
Meanwhile, remove the stalk ends from the okra, then slice the pods lengthways and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Remove the stalks from the green chillies, if necessary, but leave the chillies whole. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onions. Peel and roughly chop the ginger.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat in the pan. Add the cumin seeds and stir until they crackle. Add the chopped ginger, ground coriander, garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric and fenugreek leaf powder, and continue stirring for 30 seconds to cook the spices. Watch closely so they do not burn.
Add the okra, onions and green chillies to the pan. Season with salt and continue stirring until the onion is softened, but not coloured.
Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and leave the vegetables to steam-cook with just the liquid that comes out of the okra and onions for a further 2 minutes, or until the okra is tender, but still holding its shape.
While the okra finishes cooking, trim and finely chop the spring onion. Rinse and chop enough coriander leaves to make about 1 tablespoon. Set both aside.
When the lamb is tender and cooked to your liking, transfer it and all the cooking juices that have accumulated in the tray to the pan with the okra, stirring to blend. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and sprinkle with the spring onion and chopped coriander just before serving.
Atul’s time-saving tip
If you want to get ahead, rub the lamb pieces with the spice paste in the morning, cover and leave in the fridge all day, ready for cooking in the evening. Just remember to remove the meat from the fridge when you start preheating the oven, so it returns to room temperature before cooking.