Vindaoo Lamb Stew (Miss Carriger Recommends)

My New Year’s Goal for this year is to cook a new recipe each month. I tried to find and eat a new food (to me) in 2011. Well 2012 is the year of learning some new and exciting recipes. I already enjoy cooking quite a bit but the AB and I fall into patterns and tend to keep cooking the same ten dishes over and over. The AB ads to the resolution that these are also to be healthy recipes.

My delicious and easy new almond cake of yum, for example, does not count.

So, the first attempt . . . Vindaloo!

For New Years I made a big pot of my infamous annual Lamb Stew (it has a sordid origin story to do with rabbits and hobbits, but I digress). Yet there was so much good food at New Years the stew hardly got eaten. Sick of having it reheated every day for a week, we decided to try to turn it into a vindaloo.

Now, I don’t normally cook Indian food. Thai ~ certainly. Mediterranean, Mexican, Latin American ~ absolutely. British ~ all the darn time. But Indian has always seemed a little overwhelming to me. So many spices! All at once! Don’t get me wrong, I adore eating it, but cooking it?

Well the adventure was on.

I took this recipe and limited it down to proportions correlated to the amount of stew we had left, and then tinkered with it because I didn’t have all the spices required. I estimated we had about 6 cups of stew left, with about 1 pound of deboned meat. So I used 1/4 the recipe. This means all my measurements bellow were converted to 1/4 table spoons, but I’m recording everything in whole measurements to make it easy to size up or down. I know, it’s so Victorian of me.

  • 3 of dried cilantro
  • 2 powdered cumin
  • 1 ground black pepper
  • 1 ground cloves
  • 1 ground chilli powder
  • 4 brown mustered (just the sandwich kind)
  • 1 powdered cinnamon
  • 1 cayenne pepper
  • 5 crushed garlic
  • 1 fine granulated sugar

So remember these are all 1/4 tbsp measurements

To this I added:

  • 1 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of Topal 2% yoghurt (the creamy Greek kind)
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar (What can I say? It’s the British in me, it was what I had) Next time I’m going to take this down to 1/8, it was pretty strong and vinegary, and there was red wine in the stew already.

Mixed all spices together with liquids.

Bay leaves, lamb, potatoes, carrots, and salt were already in the stew in sufficient quantities. (Things I was missing: 1 cardamom, 1 turmeric, 1 nigella, 3 fresh ginger.)

Put on some rice to cook.

Heated up stew, removed some of the broth (I might not bother removing broth next time).

Fried up a small onion and small green bell pepper in a little olive oil on high heat. Turned veg down to medium and added the prepared sauce. Waited until fragrant.

Then dumped all of this into the stew.

Let it cook on very low for about 30 minutes while I waited for the rice. It darkened nicely, and was quite thick. Added in a handful of baby spinach leaves near the end, because I pretty much put spinach into everything.

Came out pretty good. The AB loved it. Not exactly the best vindaloo but definitely Indian in flavor, made six me-sized potions.

Now, I know this is not exactly relevant to the writerly life and times you, Gentle Reader, may wish to read here. But honestly life as a writer is mostly rather dull, and the most exciting thing to happen to me each day is food. (Yes, Alexia got that from me.)

Next month’s new cooking adventure is going to be all Victorian based. One of my betas and I are getting together to cook a feast for friends out of “Things a Lady Would Like to Know,” Henry Southgate’s 1876 masterpiece (and often used primary source for the Parasol Protectorate books). Since Victorian cookbooks don’t relay proportions, times, temperatures, or any fiddly little details like that this is going to be fun! Possibly deadly, But fun.


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Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Jen C. said:

    Your dinner party sounds lovely! As an amateur food historian and professional cook (not chef, thankyouverymuch), I've always had dreams of doing something like that. A book that might be of interest is "Fannie's Last Supper" by Charles Kimball, where he (and his professional team) cooked a 12 course holiday dinner from the Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

    Can't wait to see the next update for that project

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