Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry – A hot and spicy lamb curry which is cooked in a rich tomato and curry masala broth; Durban curry doesn’t usually have fruit added, but I have added some plump, dried South African apricots for sweetness and texture. Use diced lamb leg or neck of lamb, and serve with Basmati rice, naan bread, chutney and a handful of peanuts. Wine pairing: I served this with a South African Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
Paired with South African Pinot Noir
Wine Trust 100
My parents always told me, that apart from fresh peaches that were picked from a beautiful big tree in their garden in Fish Hoek in South Africa, where I was born, my first “solids” were in fact Cape Malay Curry! And, it is true that I am a bit of a curry addict, enjoying all sorts and styles of curry, from fragrant and fruity to hot and spicy, I make a curry at least once a week. We all love the softly spiced, fruity style of Cape Malay curries, and this distinctive curry relies heavily on the special blend of spices, known as Cape Malay curry powder. Cape Malay curries are famous for their fruity and full-bodied flavours, making good use of local colourful vegetables or meat and fish, they are not as hot as the curries used in the Indian kitchen. However, we also love fiery curries too, especially Vindaloo and Madras style curries, and a big batch of Durban curry is often made at Chez Lavender and Lovage.
So, what is the difference between a Cape Malay style curry and Durban curry? South Africa is a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities, of which one of the biggest ethnic groups hail from the India; they came to South Africa as “indentured” labourers to work in the sugar cane fields in Natal, and with them came their national cuisine of curry. The curry then evolved further when the British arrived, already known for their love of curry, they embraced this spicy dish and thus the Durban curry was born. A Durban curry is hotter than a Cape Malay style curry, and is reddish in colour…..the colour comes from the addition of tomatoes, as well as the special “Curry Masala” mix that relies heavily on chillies, paprika and cayenne pepper. A good Durban style curry Masala powder is said to have at least 12 separate spices in the mix, which will typically comprise ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, curry leaves, fennel seeds, fenugreek, ginger, garlic and of course the heat elements of paprika, dried chillies and cayenne pepper.
I’ve taken a few liberties today with my recipe for Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry, and although the spicing is pretty authentic, I’ve added some wonderfully plump and soft dried South African apricots, in place of the usual potatoes. After visiting South Africa and several fruit farms in the Western Cape recently, I really wanted to add a little bit of sunshine to this dish, and the apricots work so well, cutting through the richness and spiciness of the curry broth to add a burst of sweet fruitiness, as well as extra texture. When there are fresh apricots available in the shops, I will be adding them to this curry recipe, but don’t forget they won’t need to be added until the last 10 minutes of cooking, if you are making this curry with fresh apricots now. I researched many Durban curry recipes, and noticed that as well as potatoes, they often contain peas and other vegetables, so today’s recipe has a few frozen peas added as well as green pepper.
So, what to drink with this meaty, fruity curry? I know that beer is the usual suspect when pairing with curries and spicy food, but we prefer to pair wine with curry in our house. It had to be a South African wine, of course, and I decided to really treat us to a bottle of 2016 NEWTON JOHNSON, FAMILY VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR, from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which is on sale at WineTrust100 in the UK. This beautiful wine is bursting with red fruits as well as red and blackcurrants, it’s low in tannins, which makes it a fabulous choice for lunchtime dining, and is light, soft and well-rounded, but, not too soft that it was lost when paired with the curry. There was a subtle hint of spice to the wine, I picked up on cinnamon, and that just further enhanced the drinking experience with the lamb curry. I can imagine that this wine would also be the perfect pairing with Chinese food too, I’m thinking Peking Duck or sticky Hoisin pork ribs. It was simply one of the most delicious Pinot Noirs I have enjoyed recently, so I wasn’t surprised to see that it has won several awards.
WineTrust100 offers many other expertly sourced wines, not just from South Africa, but from all over the world; the ethos is quite simply to offer exceptional quality wines that are reasonably priced; and furthermore, if you order a full case of 12 wines, delivery is free.……they also have a Wine Club, where you can have a seasonal case of 12 wines hand-picked by their team, delivered direct to you every month or quarter. There are 2 levels, Gold at £96 a case and Platinum at £198 a case, all specially selected by their Masters of Wine. I was very impressed by the selection on offer, and also their prices too. I received a case of assorted South African wines recently, and as one of their Wine Ambassadors, I will be highlighting them over the next few weeks, along with bespoke recipes that I have created to pair with the wines. My specially created recipe to accompany the 2016 NEWTON JOHNSON, FAMILY VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR is shared below, and do look out for my next recipe for Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots, made to be paired with another South African wine!
*Collaborative post with WineTrust100*
Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots…….recipe coming soon
Other Curry recipes on Lavender and Lovage: