Consider this recipe an Indian curried lamb shank with a twist. The spicing includes the familiar turmeric, cumin, coriander, and heat you would expect in an Indian curry but the coconut milk and lack of ginger give it an almost Thai flavour.
Do you ever cook for people with dietary restrictions? This recipe was developed to feed an allergy prone friend; it has no dairy, soy, corn, wheat, eggs, ginger, tomatoes or potatoes and is served on allergy friendly quinoa. After struggling over ideas I have a new respect for all those people with dietary restrictions and developing allergy-friendly recipes.
Coconut and Tamarind Braised Lamb Shanks(serves 4)
Sprinkle the lamb shanks on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and when it shimmers add the lamb shanks in one layer. Brown well on all sides and remove to a plate.
In the meantime in a medium dutch oven heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat and add the onion. Cook the onion until golden brown.
Toast the cumin and coriander lightly over a low flame until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and pulverize until a fine powder. Combine with turmeric, curry powder, and garlic paste. (Tip: if you haven't figured out how to make garlic paste with a chefs knife, try using a microplane to grate the garlic!)
Turn on oven to 325F.
Add the garlic and spic mixture to the onions along with the fresh tamarind. Stir for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is very fragrant and garlic is browning but not burned. Stir in the honey, coconut milk and stock and bring to a gently simmer. Taste the sauce and add at least 1 teaspoon of salt Nestle the shanks into the pot and cover. Transfer to the oven and cook, stirring and turning the lamb shanks occasionally until nice and tender - about 2-3 hours. Remove the shanks from the pot and skim the fat from the top of the sauce. (Note: you can make this a day ahead and refrigerate to remove the fat)
Return shanks to the pot. Finely chop the cilantro and stir throughout the sauce. Serve hot.