This was my grandmother´s signature dish. Along with her signature dessert. Growing up in this country, Indian food was unheard of. By the time I was a grown-up I discovered real curries. Real because they don´t rely on curry powder; they develop their flavor by way of many ingredients coming together wonderfully. This one is not that kind of curry, because back in the old days it was the store-bought powder or nothing. And she didn´t use coconut milk because, let´s face it, it was even more unheard of.
I got hold of my grandmother´s handwritten recipe books a few years ago. To my surprise, the last few pages have a handwritten index and It´s my writing. I didn´t remember it but I wrote those indexes for her when I was a teenager, so she wouldn´t have to go through all the notebooks every time she wanted a recipe.
I regularly crave things I grew up eating, but even though I like the idea I usually have a modernized version of it. Going back to the original recipe I found out that this curry was a more complex preparation that I thought. It had lamb, coconut milk and what she called samblat, that consisted of little bowls with an assortment of garnishes, such as orange sections, peanuts, chutney, mint, bananas, grated coconut, fried onions, nuts, cucumber, yogurt, raisins, and pears. So you were served the lamb curry and then you could add as few or as many of these chopped additions to your plate. In the end the plate was a big mess of everything mixed together. It was great.
Today I streamlined it a lot and used chicken. I know many will be appalled but I used an already made curry powder. I buy it from a specialty store where they make it themselves so it´s excellent. In the near future I will make the whole dish with homemade curry powder, white rice and samblat.