17/08/2009

Boiled lamb, mutton, veal or fish with curry sauce

My mother used to make this dish several time a year when I was growing up, and I liked it then, but now that I have learned to appreciate genuine Indian and Chinese curries, I never make it, simply because I detest pre-mixed curry powder (the only thing I use it for is sauce for marinated herring). The curry used is the mild type, but I imagine that a medium hot curry powder would be good with mutton, which has a stronger flavour than lamb or veal.

This is a relatively new but still traditional Icelandic dish. I think curry powder first appeared in Iceland in the 1940s or 50s, and this dish has been part of the Icelandic everyday diet ever since. Lamb or mutton is generally used, but this recipe is also suited to veal.

750 g lamb, mutton or veal
800 ml water
2 tsp salt
2 carrots

Curry sauce:
2 1/2 to 3 tbs flour
1 tsk curry powder
150 ml cold water
400-500 ml meat cooking liquid or stock


100 g rice
1 liter water
1 tsp salt

A cheap cut like shoulder can be used in this dish. Meat should be in small pieces, about 2-3 mouthfuls each piece.

Bring the water to the boil and drop in the pieces of meat. Skim and salt. Lower the temperature to simmer and cook under a lid until it is soft and just beginning to come off the bone (about 40 minutes to an hour for lamb, 1-2 hours for mutton). Clean and slice the carrot and cook with the meat for the last 10 minutes. When the meat is cooked, remove from the saucepan and keep warm while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce, sift together the flour and curry powder. Mix with the water to make a paste.

Strain the cooking liquid from the meat, return to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the salt. When the liquid is boiling, pour in the flour/curry paste in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the sauce boils again. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.

To serve with fish:
Poach the same amount of cod or haddock as there is meat in the above recipe, leaving out the carrots. Instead of cooking liquid from meat, make the sauce with the cooking liquid from the fish, fish stock or milk. Serve with rice.

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