Eid Ul Haj
It is customary for Muslims to offer sacrifice on Eid-ul-Haj or Eid Ul Adha. So this year we perform the Qurban as usual and ordered a lamb through the butcher.
The purpose of this sacrifice is to mirror the sacrifice of a ram by Prophet Ibrahim A.S in place of his son. One may consume the meat and utilize the skin of their sacrificial animals and/ or give it away as charity.
So last weekend was a lamb cooking marathon for me. I divided a third of the meat from the 15 kg lamb for our own consumption and the other 2/3 to be given away to friends.
So off I go cooking 2 kg of Red lamb curry (recipe here) and 2 pots of Afghan Rice (carrot rice). I gave away the remaining uncooked portions and the lamb curry to the local community here.
While thinking of what to cook next, my thoughts drifted to my uncle's (my mum's older brother) yummy Lamb Dalca. It is a type of traditional Malay style one pot dish of lamb curry pieces cooked in coconut milk with lentils (usually dhal), carrots, eggplant, potatoes, beans, okra and tomatoes.
My uncle was a cook in the Royal Malaysian Army and his Lamb Dalca was so popular that even after he retired, his friends and neighbours will enlist his help to cook at their wedding functions or any large gatherings. Come to think of it, everyone in my family on my mother's side are great cooks, my eldest aunty used to cook 4 large pots of Nasi Lemak for the huge crowd at all Soccer games played at the National Stadium 30 years ago. She is now 80 yrs old and I long for her beautifully cooked food. Mak Ngah's Nasi Lemak Kukus is legendary.
So here I am wishing I had my uncle's original Lamb Dalca recipe. From memory I could remember the way my mother would cook her version, it actually taste pretty good, alhamdulillah. So here it is:
200gm dhal (soaked overnight)
500gm lamb curry pieces (washed and drained)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
2 cm ginger
3 tbsp curry powder (I used Baba's Kari Daging- available at any Asian Grocer)
3-4 curry leaves
1 stick of cinnamon
2 star anise
1 can coconut milk (I used Kara brand)
4 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp tamarind paste or juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste (1 -2 tsp)
Chop these into similar sized pieces:
Fresh Green or Red Chili as a garnish
1.Process onion, garlic and ginger in a processor or pound in a mortar and pestle and form into a paste.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch Oven or any pot with a cover and saute the paste until caramelized ( a thin layer of oil rises to the top)
3. Add cinnamon, cardamon, star anise and curry leaves.
4. Continue to stir and add the lamb pieces, and seal the meat until browned.
5. Add dhal that had been soaked and drained
5. Add coconut milk with a cup of water and tamarind paste or lemon juice
6. Bring mixture to a boil and add potatoes, carrots, and celery and eggplants
7. Once potatoes are soft, add tomatoes and beans (I didnt have any okra)
8. Simmer for another 5 minutes
9 . Serve with Plain Rice/Tomato Rice or a piece of Tosai or Paratha.