The dish was Cyrus Todiwala's Mutton Cannon Ni Seek Boti. That is kebabs and although I didn't pay too close attention, it seemed a good and fairly quick thing to do. I wasn't too excited about the mutton part, I find lamb too strong flavoured on many occasions and I suspected mutton would be even more so, but the piece of meat to use was the best end of the neck and I think "cannon" implies the whole length of the fillet, it certainly seemed to have a cannon shape.
So off to the butcher I went. Unfortunately our butcher doesn't do mutton at all, so I had to get the lamb cannon instead. Lambs being slightly smaller, I asked for both fillets and it was a great joy to watch the butcher bring out half a carcass, snip off the kidneys, peel off the skin on the back and finally pull out a bit machete and carve between the ribs and the spine to get to the two cannons. It looks so easy when a professional does it, but when I try, the piece of meat defies all physical laws so that I end up with an unrecognisable mess. Maybe I don't have the right kinds of knives.
Anyway, out the two beautiful fillets came and amounted to just over 700 g at £25 per kilo. Steep, but it was for Friday dinner, which we try to make a bit more special to celebrate the coming week-end. I did try to get hold of the wine recommended for this dish, but sadly it was not to be.
Since I had a bit more meat than specified in the recipe, I increased the amounts of the marinade a bit as well.
700 g cannon of lamb (best end of neck)
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp turmeric
4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 red onion
1 small green mango
1 green chilli
2 plum tomatoes
half a cucumber
handful of fresh mint leaves
handful of fresh coriander
1.5 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp cider vinegar
salt to taste
1 large green chilli
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 large cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
For frying the meat
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
For the kebabs
Bamboo skewers soaked in water for a couple of hours
1 dl plain flour
pinch of salt
grape seed oil to fill the frying pan to almost 1 cm
- Trim the lamb if it still has bits of fat or sinew on it, then cut into small chunks suitable for kebabs.
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and coat the lamb well. Set aside at room temperature for a couple of hours, then refrigerate until needed.
- Prepare the salad by peeling and finely slicing the onion and mango. Then deseed the chilli and chop. Deseed the tomaotes and cucumber and slice into juliennes. Finally shred the mint and coriander and mix everything well, then refrigerate until needed.
- Make the relish by chopping the chilli finely (deseed if you don't want it to be too spicy). Combine together with the ginger, pressed garlic and coriander and put in the fridge.
- Just before starting, place the flour on a plate and whisk the eggs with the salt in a shallow bowl.
- Heat up the oil in a deep frying pan on high heat, then fry the marinated chunks of lamb until they are well browned, about 3 - 4 minutes. Do in batches, so the pieces are not crowded in the pan.
- Once all meat has been browned, make the kebabs, taking care as the meat should be quite hot still. The pieces can be skewered quite closely together.
- Heat up the oil to high heat
- Roll the kebabs in the flour, make sure they're well coated. Then dredge through the eggs, then place in the hot oil and let fry for 2 - 3 minutes, turning the kebabs to get them fried all over.
- Place the ready kebabs on tissue to drain a bit, then serve along with the cachumber salad and the relish.
Now, the above is what I did, because the recipe wasn't quite clear. Apparently the relish wasn't a relish at all, but was an additional layer of spice for the lamb. After the meat had been browned in batches, it should have been returned to the pan, then the relish should have been stirred in and the whole lot should have been left to the side to cool a bit. On the whole, my way worked just as well and had the benefit of allowing more control of the spicy heat. I'd included the chilli seeds in the relish and they did dominate quite a lot, so won't do that next time.
As anticipated the meat was fantastically light and tender. The marinade was perfect for the lamb, I suspect the mutton would have been more obvious as a flavour.
The salad was a great surprise too. I was not at all sure about having mango in a salad. In addition did Mr Todiwala mean a green mango as in an unripe mango or a specific type of mango that doesn't go reddish when it's ripe? Not that I think there was any choice in the supermarket where I normally shop, but I chose a small firm mango that was green all over, so every sign of not quite ripe.
Deseeding the tomatoes and cucumber was fiddly, but worth it, because it avoided a lot of excess liquid in the salad and everything combined nicely, so no single flavour dominated, but there was an overall nice balance of the ingredients and the texture was terrific.
I reduced the amount of oil required to fry the kebabs by half I think. Lundulph wandered into the kitchen to see what was happening just as I started pouring the oil into the pan and I told him to not to look. Then I just couldn't force myself to pour any more than just under 1 cm depth. It certainly felt like deep frying to me. After the kebabs were fried, I not only placed them on tissue, but placed some on top and patted them a bit, to soak up as much as possible.
Some alternative method for the flour and egg procedure will need to be worked out, because it was not straightforward to roll the skewers. Some chunks of meat refused to roll around and they were a bit different sizes, so some didn't reach to get coated and I ended up sprinkling with my fingers, then the same through the eggs to get a bit of coating and a lot of the stuff was stuck to my fingers, when it would have been better on the kebabs.
Since I didn't manage to get hold of that recommended wine - Papa Luna 2007 from Spain, Lundulph selected an Albali Gran Reserva from 2001 and also from Spain, which was very nice indeed.
You might have noticed that there were no carbs to accompany this meal and I suggested we have some quick toast with that, but Lundulph said we could always have that for dessert and tucked in. We didn't miss the carbs one bit and I can't think what it would go well with in the carb department at the moment.
The amount of 700 g lamb seems to be enough for 4 people or perhaps 5 if you do a starter and dessert. I used up 5 skewers on this occasion, but will remember to cut the pieces slightly differently next time.
Oh and I'd bought baby chestnut mushrooms to serve with the kebabs, but unfortunately I completely forgot about them and they are still in the fridge. I don't think they're needed in this case.