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I’m back! I know, it’s been a while. What can I say? I got busy. But now I’m back in the kitchen and ready to get my apron in gear!

First up, is Lamb Vindaloo tacos. It’s Indian. It’s Mexican. It’s fusion! Ok, not really. It’s mostly Indian. Why? Because I love Indian food. A lot. This is relatively new for me. I was not really a fan until a few years ago, my friend, fellow chef and native Vancouverian (is that what people who live in Vancouver are called?) gave me an Indian cookbook, Vij At Home, for Christmas. It’s a wonderful book from a world-class chef from his two Vancouver restaurants, Vij and Rangoli. Thus, my love of Indian cuisine was born.

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One of my favorite Indian dishes is a vindaloo. A vindaloo is basically just a spicy curried meat, lamb in this case, that has the addition on some sort of acid, like wine or vinegar. The acid helps to break the meat down and give it a sweet and sour taste. Vindaloos are usually served over rice or potatoes. I’ve decided to shake things up and serve mine taco-style with a creamy cucumber raita to help put the fire out.

While technically this is a slow-cooker recipe it takes some planning. This isn’t one of those throw it all in the crock pot at 7am and dinner is ready at 5pm kinds of things. There are steps to be taken before it all goes in the slow-cooker. That being said, you could do all the steps the night before and then throw it all in the cooker at 7am. Whatever works.

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Lamb Vindaloo Tacos

  • 3-4 lb boneless leg of lamb or lamb shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup neutral oil such as avocado or grapeseed
  • 3 T brown mustard seeds
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped finely
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp hot curry powder
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 10-12 flour tortillas

Rub the lamb chunks with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet until shimmering. In batches, cook the lamb chunks on each side until brown, about 8 minutes per batch. Do not overcrowd the pan! Place lamb chunks in a large bowl and set aside.

If needed add a little more oil to the pan. Add mustard seeds to the hot oil and cook until they begin to pop, being careful not to burn them. Once mustard seeds are popping, add onions and cook until browned. Add garlic, ginger and jalapeño. Cook 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add spices. Continue cooking until spices are roasted, but not burned, adding water if needed. Add vinegar and scrape up any browned bits. Add water and cook 5 minutes until some of the water has evaporated and mixture is thickened.

Place everything in the slow-cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. It’s done when the meat is fork tender and falls apart easily. When meat is done, remove from sauce to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred with two forks. Add meat back to sauce (see notes). Keep warm until ready to serve. This can be served like this over basmati rice or cooked potatoes or in tacos with flour tortillas. Top with cucumber raita. See recipe below.

Cucumber Raita

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1½ cups greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped finely

Grate cucumber and add to greek yogurt. Add spices and cilantro. Stir well. Place in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

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Yucca Chips

  • 1 yucca
  • 4-6 cups peanut oil
  • salt

Peel and slice yucca very thinly using a mandoline or very sharp knife. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan until it reaches 350˚F. In small batches, fry yucca slices until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt while hot.

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Notes:

  • This makes a lot of vindaloo. A LOT!! We ate on it several times and I froze the rest. You could half the recipe, but my thinking is that it’s easier to make it once and freeze the rest than make it twice. But use your own judgement.
  • It’s pretty saucy. I usually leave the slow-cooker on high and remove the lid to let it reduce a bit while the meat is cooling. If you’re serving it over rice, you might want to leave it saucy, but for tacos it’s too much sauce. Again, it’s up to you.
  • I absolutely hate shredding meat with two forks. It gives me carpal tunnel syndrome. I recently saw this video and it changed my life. No kidding. If you have a mixer, do this! It’s so much easier and faster.
  • I served this with a kale salad dressed with a jalapeño peanut dressing. Any bitter green salad would work here. I like this one.
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