Hot ‘n’ Spicy Lamb Soup
1 rounded tbsp coriander seeds
1 level tbsp cumin seeds
1 level tsp white or black peppercorns (or a mix of both)
2cm piece root ginger, scraped and roughly chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1cm turmeric root (or 1/2 level tsp powdered turmeric)
3–4 bird chillies
5 whole almonds, roughly chopped
2 tbsp oil
3cm piece cinnamon
1 star anise
500g-600g lean lamb (shoulder or shank), cut into 3cm pieces *
2 large tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
2 litres water
1 large onion, cut into 1cm cubes
1 medium-sized carrot, thickly sliced
1 rib celery, thickly sliced
1 potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
Salt to taste
Chopped celery leaves (daun sup), coriander, spring onion or parsley. Also a sprinkling of crisp, fried shallots, if preferred.
* good to include a proportion of bone together with the meat as it helps build up a good rich stock–get your butcher to cut this for you into manageable pieces.
Roast coriander, cumin and peppercorns in small frying pan over low heat (shaking them around occasionally) until fragrant and crisp for about 5 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, then grind finely in electric chopper or a mortar and pestle. Mix ground spices with 3tbsp water to make a slack paste and set aside. (you can use pre-ground spices, although the flavour won´t be as good.)
Grind ginger, garlic, shallots, turmeric, chillies and almonds together finely in an electric chopper, adding a little water, if necessary. Heat oil in a pan and throw in whole spices (cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and star anise) before adding the ground ingredients, frying over low heat for five minutes until mixture is fragrant.
Next, add spice paste and continue cooking over low heat for another five minutes, stirring constantly to ensure mixture doesn´t burn.
Add lamb and brown over high heat for about 10 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, cook for another five minutes before adding water. Bring soup to the boil and then turn down heat, allowing mixture to simmer gently for an hour or until lamb is tender.
If too much water evaporates and soup seems overly thick, add a little extra water. (If you use a pressure cooker, it will take barely 20 minutes and you will need less water – 1.5 litres should be enough.)
Add the cut vegetables (onion, carrot, celery and potatoes) and salt to taste. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Ladle into deep soup bowls and serve hot with rice, pasta or bread. Garnish soup with chopped herbs and/or crisp fried shallots.