Dill-icious South Indian Lamb and Potato Fry (Varuval)

Varuval is a Tamil word that conjures up a whole genre of scrumptious fried food both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Sunday lunches at my parents home often featured a varuval – Yera (Prawn) Varuval, Swara (Shark) Varuval, Meen (Fish) Varuval and Kari (lamb) Varuval were staples. Even vegetarian fare is way more fun as a Varuval (pronounced Vuroovul) than a Poriyal  which  typically involves sauteed and steamed food. The memory of mom’s unforgettable Karnakezhangu (Yam) Varuval will send me into deep depression knowing I have to fly half way around the world to taste it again.

This dill, lamb and potato varuval is a particular favorite of my father’s and Sammie lists it in his top 5 lamb dishes. Having heard that it’s on my father’s fave list might have biased him just a little bit. There’s a vegetarian  version that simply skips the lamb.

This lamb varuval is cooked in two stages, first the lamb is pressure cooked until it is close to being done then we bring the dill and potato in for the final frying session. A wide, thick bottomed pan with an air tight light is a good substitute although the cooking time is a bit longer than in a pressure cooker.

Never leave a Varuval unattended especially during the latter half of the final frying. Patience is a virtue with a varuval, the lower the heat and the longer you can stand all that stirring every few minutes the better your varuval.

Prep time: 5 min | Total time: 45 min (with a pressure cooker)| Servings: 4 – 6

South Indian Dill, Lamb and Potato Fry (Jay)

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Easy make-at-home Mediterranean lamb in pita pockets

Eating lamb at Mediterranean restaurants has become increasingly hard to do since more and more of them are opting to mix lamb and beef. We are able get lamb Souvlaki but as for the rest, a mix of beef and lamb is what most restaurants around us seem to prefer. So we get our Mediterranean fix home-made. Like these little Gyro inspired pita pockets. It is ridiculous how easy it is to pull together and how little time it takes. After three of these babies you’ll be crying “Opa!

Prep time: 3 hrs (or buy Greek yogurt) | Total time: 30 min | Serves : 4

Lamb Pita Pockets (By Jay)

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Lamb (Not-exactly-traditional) Bolognese

Bolognese sauce has traveled a long way from Bologna and it has taken on forms that it never dreamed of when it was young. If it ever went back home for a visit it is bound to draw strange looks (some admiring, some curious and some disapproving) from its more traditional cousins and siblings back in its home town. But then that’s the price it pays for being a world-famous sauce eh?! Chefs and home cooks alike continue to take all sorts of license. Speaking of home cooks and taking license, while Bolognese is typically made with beef, a combination of beef and pork or beef and veal I make Bolognese with lamb and happily skip the cream. This recipe is an adaptation of chef Emeril’s beef Bolognese.

Traditional slow cooked Bolognese calls for far more time than I have on an average weeknight or even a weekend so I don’t exactly slow cook the sauce like it should be. Maybe one of these cold, wet rainy Saturdays I will curl up with a good book and really slowwww cook my Bolognese for 6 – 8 hours but until then here is the sped up lamb Bolognese that I enjoy just as much.

Prep time: 15 min | Total time: 2 hours| Serves: 3 – 4

Lamb Bolognese (Jay)

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