Looking for new and unique holiday entertaining ideas? Canada’s best chefs and cookbook authors share favourite recipes from their own kitchens.
Originally from a small village in Punjab, India, Bal Arneson learned how to cook from her elders when she was just seven years old, over coals in a small clay pit. When she was 20, Bal immigrated to Canada. Drawing on the culinary knowledge she gained in India, as well as her own natural talents, Bal would regularly cook up healthy, quick, and delicious dishes for family and friends.
It was not long until Vancouver’s food community took notice of her incredible talent. Cooking stores and local television stations began asking her to share her tricks for making healthy Indian dishes. After giving numerous cooking classes, making several television appearances, and inspiring many newspaper articles, Bal’s recipes were in such demand that she decided to write a cookbook, and was eventually offered her own TV show – Spice Goddess airs on Food Network Canada – and has just released her second book, Bal’s Quick & Healthy Indian.
Here she shares a simple, flavourful lamb curry made without cream, butter or coconut milk.
“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,” Bal says. “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.”
This dish makes a superb family meal, something different for a buffet, or a delicious addition to an intimate New Year’s Eve dinner.
Spiced Lamb with Mango Sauce
Reprinted with permission from Bal’s Quick & Healthy Indian, by Bal Arneson (Whitecap Books)
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!
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.
Serve with rice and White Radish Salad with Cherry Dressing.
2008 Pink Elephant by Elephant Island Orchard Wines
I love how the currant and green apple aromatics of this wine play off the flavors of the cumin, coriander, and mango juice. A great wine choice and a great pairing!