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West: Royal Lamb Chops Braised with Nuts & Saffron

Stephen Ceideburg 4 tb Unsalted butter

1/4 c Sliced almonds

1/4 c Slivered pistachios

6 lg Garlic cloves

1 One-inch piece fresh ginger

1 ts Coriander

5 Green cardamom pods,husked

1 Fresh hot green chile

1/4 ts Black peppercorns

5 Whole cloves

1/2 ts Royal cumin, or regular

-cumin seeds (see note) 1/4 ts Ground mace

1/4 c Water

3 Lamb rib chops, 4 ounces

-each, trimmed of all fat 1/2 c Water

1/2 ts Saffron threads, dissolved

-in 2 tablespoons hot water Salt (optional) 1/2 c Peas, fresh or frozen

2 tb Minced fresh cilantro or

-parsley This elegant entree is a specialty of Rajasthan, home of the Rajput warriors. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add almonds and pistachios; cook, stirring, until light brown, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Combine the garlic, ginger, coriander, cardamom, chili, peppercorns, cloves, cumin, mace and water in a blender and blend to form a smooth paste. Arrange lamb in a large shallow dish. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of lamb. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and brown well on both sides. Add 1/4 cup of the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add remaining water; sprinkle in saffron. Cover and cook until lamb is tender, about 10 minutes. Taste, and add salt, if needed. Stir in peas and cook 5 minutes longer. Sauce should be very thick. Transfer lamb to a heated platter. Stir sauce and pour over lamb. Top with fried nuts and cilantro. Note: Royal cumin (black cumin) or shahi jeera gets its name from the royal Moghul dishes it was most used in. It is available at Indian markets. PER SERVING: 640 calories, 35 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 50 g fat (22 g saturated), 149 mg cholesterol, 131 mg sodium, 5 g fiber. Laxmi Hiremath writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, 6/24/02.

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