¼-½ tsp black peppercorns (depends how hot your Dad likes his curries)
3 cm piece cinnamon, broken into small pieces
4 tbsp oil
600 g lamb shoulder, cut into 4 cm pieces *
2-3 tbsp vinegar
Salt to taste
* Or 600 g chicken, cut into 5 cm pieces
Soak chillies in warm water until soft and plump (about 15 minutes). Drain, rinse and discard most of the seeds.
Cut both onions into halves lengthwise and slice thickly.
Place one onion with the chillies, garlic and ginger in the jug of an electric blender and add just enough water to allow the blades to turn. Grind mixture finely. (The other onion is to be added to the curry later.)
Try fry the spices (cumin, coriander, peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves) in a small frying pan over low heat until the spices are fragrant and crisp.
Cool for 10 minutes and grind finely in an electric spice grinder.
Eat oil in a roomy pan and fry the ground chilli paste mixture over moderate heat until fragrant and oil separates.
Add the ground dry spices and cook for a few more minutes before adding the lamb. Cook, turning mixture occasionally, to prevent burning.
Add 1 cup water, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar. Adjust heat to low and simmer until lamb is tender - about 20 minutes. (The curry should be quite thick.) Add between 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and taste curry, adding a little more salt if necessary.
Curry can be made several hours (or even a day) ahead. Cool, refrigerate re-heat thoroughly before serving. Serve with plain rice or for a more `special´ touch, turmeric rice with golden raisins. See below.
To make a quick version of turmeric rice, melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan, sprinkle in ¼ tsp ground turmeric and ¼ tsp salt, stirring mixture well until it is smooth. Add as many raisins as you fancy and about 2 cups cooked rice. Stir mixture around until rice is evenly tinted yellow. Serve with the curry, accompanied, if you like, with a sweet chutney or simple salad.