I mentioned this dish to two friends and they both went “Oooohh!” It was certainly delicious. The secret is using a pressure cooker. Lamb shanks take a very long time to cook. They are filled with connective tissue, which is what makes them so rich and delicious. Alas, connective tissue takes quite some time to break down. The pressure cooker to the rescue! Something that would take hours in the oven is done in about an hour. Score one for technology.
Vindaloo is supposed to be hot. Really hot. At ½ teaspoon cayenne, it’s mildly spicy. Feel free to increase the cayenne up to 1 ½ teaspoons, if you can handle it.
Lamb Shanks Vindaloo
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 large lamb shanks, about 2 pounds total
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1″ square chunk tamarind pulp
2 cups boiling water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
½ to 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
1 14-15 oz. can white or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Prepare the spice rub: puree the onion, garlic, ginger, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil in a food processor. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in cumin, mustard seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. Set aside.
Pour the boiling water over the tamarind and let soak while you brown the the shanks and onions.
Season the lamb shanks with salt and black pepper. Heat up the pressure cooker over high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil. Brown shanks on all sides. Turn off heat and remove shanks to a dish, and smear with reserved spice rub.
Return pressure cooker to medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons oil and onion. Fry onions until they are nicely browned, stirring often. Squeeze the tamarind in the water to dissolve. Remove any stringy bits. Add the turmeric, cayenne, and paprika. Fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add back the lamb shanks and all the marinade, salt, and the tamarind and water. Stir to combine. Lock on the lid, and bring up to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow pressure to drop naturally for 10 minutes. Open lid and stir in the beans. Return to medium heat and cook until the sauce is reduced to appropriate sauciness and beans are hot. Serve with rice or naan.