Dili Ka Saag Gosht (Lamb & Spinach)

Lamb & Spinach & Dosa

Usually, after making a recipe a few times, I’ll experiment with different seasonings or swapping one protein for another. But not this recipe! I found it over 20 years ago – a Madhur Jaffrey creation – and have been making it the same way every single time to the joy of my 13-year-old who requests it quite often, telling me she “craves” it. I don’t recall having a “favorite” food when I was her age, and it brings me joy knowing I’m also creating good memories for her.

Jaffrey has a gift for writing recipes that are simple, straight-forward, but loaded with a complex depth of flavors. The cube-sized bites of lamb are evenly balanced with just the right amount of richly-spiced yogurt sauce along with spinach. We’ve enjoyed East Indian restaurants across the United States, Europe and Australia, but have not encountered any other Dili Ka Saag Gosht as good as this recipe.

Another benefit of Jaffrey’s recipes is they fit in well within the guidelines of Weston A. Price and its companion cookbook, Nourishing Traditions which values nutrient dense foods, with liberal use of healthy fats, and low ‘n slow styles of cooking.

Whole spices make a tremendous difference when it comes to flavor, but unless you use a spice bag, easily removing whole spices before serving, family or guests spend a fair amount of time removing them from their mouth. Occasionally, someone may bite down on an entire spice – cardamom, peppercorn or clove – and find that flavor will dominate their taste buds for the remainder of the dinner.

Unless we have guests? I don’t use a spice bag. My husband’s view is that when he encounters whole spices in the dishes we eat at a local favorite East Indian restaurant, he’s impressed – “Look! They’re really cooking!”

Other helpful notes on making this dish –

  • We prefer frozen spinach instead of fresh, as it has more flavor.
  • This dish is best when it is made the day before and refrigerated, allowing the spices to meld together.
  • We often erve this with naan or dosa (Indian breads), great for scooping up the sauce.
  • If using ghee (clarified butter), the only one I will use is Organic Purity Farms Ghee, made from grass-fed butter, and has a delicate flavor.

Spinach & Dosa Dili Ka Saag Gosht (Lamb & Spinach)
We usually serve it with a side dish of Jasmine or Basmati rice, as well as a variety of toppings – coconut, sliced almonds, raita (yogurt with mint and spices) or plain yogurt, raisins and mango chutney – which makes this an especially fun dish for children who can “customize” their portion to their own liking. (Pictured with home-made dosa – fermented rice and lentil bread)

  • 8 T vegetable oil (red palm or Purity Farms Ghee)
  • 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 6-7 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leves
  • 6 cardamom pods (green are best, highest quality and flavor)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1-inch cube peeled, finely chopped ginger
  • 2 lbs boned lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 – 3/4 tsp cayenne (I use 1/8 tsp)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 5 T plain yoghurt, well beaten (stir whey into yogurt)
  • 2 lb fresh spinach, trimmed, washed and finely chopped or 2 lb frozen spinach, thawed, may be substituted
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala (now widely available; a friend’s mother used to send it to me from India)
  1. Heat oil over medium-high; put in peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, and cardamom pods. Stir for 2-minutes. Remove from heat, and place spices in the spice bag.
  2. Return pan to heat, next put onions, garlic and ginger into hot oil, stirring, until onions develop brown specks.
  3. Add meat, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper and 1 tsp salt, stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Add 1 T yoghurt, stir, cooking for 1 minute.
  5. Continue to add yoghurt, cooking for 1 minute, until all 5 T of yoghurt are added. The meat should have a slightly-browned appearance.
  6. Add spinach and remaining 1 tsp salt.
  7. Stir to mix.
  8. Keep stirring and cooking unitl the spinach is completely wilted; cover tightly and simmer on very low heat for 1 hour, or until meat is tender.
  9. Remove lid; add garam masala.
  10. Turn heat to medium; stir and cook another 5 minutes until most (but not all) the water from the spinach has disappeared; there will be a thick green sauce.

Dosa Recipe