Lamb Masala or locally known as “mutton paratal” is prominent on the Malaysian menus especially amongst the Indian community. This lamb dish gets its wallop of flavor from masala encompassing cinnamon sticks, cardamom, star anise, cloves, onions, chili powder and turmeric that form the basis of many Indian dishes. At Indian restaurants throughout the country, local cooks serve mutton paratal sometimes even mad with goat meat with saffron pilaf and vegetables on a cleaned fresh banana leaf. Savoring the lamb on the leaf is a beautiful and organic experience. When diners are satisfied with the meal, the banana leaf is folded into half facing their chest, as a gratitude to the cook.
6 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
2 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
5 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 whole star anise
2 small red onions, roughly chopped
1 green chili, sliced lengthwise and deseeded
2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Cilantro Paste (page 000)
2 sprigs curry leaves
3 medium tomatoes, quartered
2 pounds lamb shoulder, chopped into 3 inch pieces
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons Chili Powder (page 000) or cayenne
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ cup plain yogurt
- Heat the oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods, star anise, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onions, green chili, ginger garlic cilantro paste, and curry leaves. Cook, stirring until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, lamb, turmeric, and chili powder and give it a good stir. Cover and simmer over low, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Season with salt to taste. Add the yogurt and stir until well blended. Uncover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, until thick. Remove from the heat and serve hot.