From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
3 tblsp sunflower oil
675 g lamb neck fillet (cut into bite-sized pieces)
6 whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2" piece of fresh root ginger (peeled and finely grated)
4 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)
1 tblsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
200 ml thick greek-style yoghurt
400 g can of chopped tomatoes
0.5 cucumber, seeds removed and coarsely grated
200 g greek-style yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
good pinch ground cumin
2 tblsp chopped fresh mint
maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods (lightly crushed)
1 tsp fennel seeds
350 g basmati rice (well rinsed)
good pinch salt
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan, add half of the lamb and fry until nicely browned all over. Transfer to a plate and fry the rest of the meat. Set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pan, then fry the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves for a few seconds. Add the onion and fry for 6–7 minutes until nicely browned. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes, then add the ground spices and fry for another minute. Add the yoghurt, a tablespoon at a time, frying for about 30 seconds between each addition.
Return the lamb to the pan and stir in the tomatoes with 150ml (5fl oz) of boiling water. Season to taste, cover and simmer very gently for about 1 hour or until the lamb is meltingly tender but still holding its shape and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
To make the raita, sprinkle the cucumber with a little salt and then set aside for 10 minutes to allow the excess moisture to come out. Squeeze dry and place in a bowl, then stir in the yoghurt, garlic, mint, cumin and season to taste. Stir until well combined, then transfer to a serving bowl and cover with clingfilm. Chill until needed.
To make the rice, heat the oil in a heavy-based pan with a lid. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Stir in the garlic, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel seeds, add the rice and cook for a further minute taking care not to stir the rice.
Pour enough water into the pan so that it comes 1" above the level of the rice. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and boil fast for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes (do not remove the heat or the steam will escape!). Fluff the rice up with a fork and spoon into a serving dish to serve.
Spoon the lamb rogan josh on to warmed plates with the pilau rice. Have the cucumber raita to hand around separately