- Grandmother’s Chile Paste:
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 6 dried red chile peppers (preferably Kashmiri)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped – or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 pounds lamb shanks, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Place the cumin seeds into a dry skillet over medium heat, and toast them, stirring constantly, until they give off a roasted fragrance and turn a darker brown, about 1 minute. Scrape the seeds into a bowl, and allow to cool. When cool, grind them with a mortar and pestle or a clean spice grinder. Set the ground seed aside.
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Remove stems of chiles if necessary, and soak pods in the apple cider vinegar in a bowl until soft, at least 1 hour. Place the softened chiles with vinegar, cumin, and garlic into a blender or food processor, and pulse until ground into a paste, 30 seconds to 1 minute or as needed.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook and stir the onions until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in ginger garlic paste and about 1 teaspoon of the Grandmother's Chile Paste mixture or as desired. Reduce heat to medium-low, and fry the onions with the spice pastes for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in tomato paste, ground red pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves, and bring to a simmer. Cook to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.
Mix in the lamb shank pieces, and stir in salt to taste; simmer for 20 minutes, and stir in the water. Bring the lamb and sauce to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer until lamb is very tender and sauce has thickened, 45 more minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro to serve.