Vinegar-Marinated Lamb with Potatoes and Mustard Seeds

Syrian Christian Lamb Curry

Preparation info

  • Serves

    6

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

660 Curries

By Raghavan Iyer

Published 2008

  • About

When the followers of the Apostle Thomas landed off the coast of Malabar (now known as Kerala) almost 2,000 years ago to spread the word of Christianity, they successfully converted a sect of Hindu Namboodri Brahmins. These Nazranis (followers of Christ from Nazareth who used the rituals and traditions of the Jewish faith) conducted their sermons in the Syrian and Aramaic languages; hence they came to be known as Syrian Christians. Now they are all members of the Roman Catholic Church. Another group of converts, particularly from the lower castes, embraced Latin Christianity around the 1500s, thanks to the influence of St. Francis Xavier. To this day intermarriages between the two communities are frowned upon, forming yet another religious divide within this third-widely-practiced faith in India. The eating habits of the Syrian Christians are different from those of the locals, and all meats are fair game, including beef and pork. A liberal use of locally grown spices and acidic vinegars (especially from the coconut palm) are the trademarks of their cooking style, and this curry provides a robust testimony to that tradition.