SLOPPY JAI (KHEEMA PAAV) (SERVES 8)
¼ cup canola oil 1 tablespoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon roughly crushed black peppercorns (set grinder to coarse setting) 2 cups diced yellow onion, plus more for garnish 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon finely diced ginger (peel skin off with a spoon) 1 teaspoon green chiles (serranos preferred) 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (see Note 1) 2 tablespoons ground coriander 1 tablespoon ground turmeric 2 tablespoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon red chili powder (don’t use cayenne) ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro 2 pounds ground lamb (coarse grind preferred) ½ cup plain yogurt (not Greek or flavored) 2 cups crushed vine-ripened tomatoes 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (can substitute rice vinegar or white vinegar) 1 tablespoon garam masala (homemade preferred, see Note 2) 8 paav (can substitute any sweet, soft white roll), split and toasted with a touch of butter Sweetened yogurt, for garnish (mix equal parts sugar with plain yogurt, whisk until dissolved) Heat a large wide sauté pan to medium-high. Add the oil and heat to near smoking. Add the cumin seeds and black peppercorns and allow seeds to sputter for a minute. Remove the pan from heat, add the diced yellow onion and salt, and return to medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the ginger and chiles and sauté until chiles are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté until it starts to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric, cumin, red chili powder, and cilantro, and sauté for 1 minute. Meanwhile, add the lamb to the sauté pan, increasing the heat to high. Sear the lamb for 5 minutes, ensuring all the meat is exposed to the cooking surface so it can properly brown. Add the yogurt and continue cooking until the lamb is glossy, about 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and garam masala. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes, adding salt to taste. Spoon the lamb mixture on the toasted rolls and garnish with cilantro, diced onions, and a drizzle of sweetened yogurt. Note 1: Add equal amounts peeled garlic and peeled ginger to a food processor with a few drops of oil. Blend to a smooth paste. Note 2: To make garam masala, add 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 small sticks cinnamon, 4 cloves, 1 dried bay leaf, and 4 whole green cardamom pods into a dry pan.