Australia Day/India’s Republic Day
We celebrate Australia Day and India’s Republic Day on the same day. I get to make smug comments to Andrew about India seeing the light about shaking off colonial shackles and standing on its own feet as a Republic. And Andrew gets to encourage the kids to sing God Save the Queen just to annoy me. We eat something that is a fusion of our two cultures and manage to enjoy the day off.
Lamb Kebabs with mint yogurt sauce
1kg lamb mince
1 red onion
4 fat cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 piece mace
2 black cardamom pods
2 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
3 hot green chillies
1/2 cup fresh coriander
1/2 cup fresh mint
2 heaped tablespoons natural yogurt
2 tablespoons chickpea flour lightly roasted on a dry hot pan
salt to taste
Grind all the spices, garlic, ginger, chillies, herbs and onion into a paste. I grind the dry spices first and then add the garlic etc. The onion gives off plenty of moisture so that should help with the grinding. If not, use the yogurt and egg for extra moisture. Don’t add water or the mix will be too wet. Mix all the ingredients together and set aside to marinade for at least an hour.
Wet your hands (it will make it easier to shape the kebabs) and shape onto skewers. (I have the great stainless steel skewers that I have used so many times over the last few years – I can reall recommend buying some if you ever see them in the shops. They are not only reusable, dishwasher friendly….but they also heat up and cook the kebab from the inside as well resulting in a faster, more even cooking.) You basically just take a fist sized ball of the meat mixture and squash it along the length of the skewer. Dip your hands in a bowl of water frequently as it really does help with the shaping. If it is all feeling a bit wobbly, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so and it will firm up. I cooked mine straight away. Really hot bbq…coals if you have the energy/time, otherwise gas is fine too. Don’t walk away as they cook really fast. I put the lid down for the first 3-4 minutes only. After that I stood by and kept turning them every minute or so until they had a chance to seal on all sides. This was a labour of love on such a hot day let me tell you. In all it should take about 10 minutes or less to cook. If you overcook them they will be dry and tough.
For the yogurt sauce: Using a mortar and pestle grind up a clove of garlic and a hot green chilli with a pinch of salt until it is a smooth paste. Add a handful of mint and mush that around as well until it is a paste. Mix in some natural yogurt (about 3-4 tablespoons). Use extra yogurt if you want to tame down the heat of the chilli.