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Chaamp achar (pickled lamb cutlets) by Udit Sarkhel

11 September 2006

INGREDIENTS

(makes eight cutlets)

4tbs panch phoron (Bengali five-spice mixture)
60g jaggery (Indian unrefined sugar)
250ml water (plus extra)
150ml vinegar
80ml mustard oil
100ml vegetable oil
25g flour
½ tsp black peppercorns
8 frenched lamb cutlets
salt and pepper
deep frying oil
12 purple Madras onions (optional)

METHOD

Heat a frying pan to hot. Add the spice mixture and toast until the seeds crackle and are fragrant (keep them moving in the pan for the best results). Empty into a spice mill and grind to a medium-fine powder.

Dissolve the jaggery in about one-third of the water. Put the rest of the water, vinegar and jaggery solution into a deep-sided pan (essential for safety). Boil and reduce slightly.

While it is boiling, heat half the mustard oil and all the vegetable oil in a pan. Add the spice and flour and cook for about a minute.

Pour the flour, spice and oil onto the liquid, which will bubble up. Add peppercorns and cook out over a low flame until the liquor has a dark brown tinge.

Flatten the cutlets with a cutlet bat or cleaver. Season. Heat frying oil to 200ºC (very hot). Deep-fry the cutlets for one minute. They won't be cooked through.

Put them into a container. Cool the pickle if there is a risk of melting the container, otherwise pour it over the meat straight away. Top up with the rest of the mustard oil.

Leave to mature for 48 hours before serving cold as part of an entree.

Udit Sarkhel

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