Lamb Curry with Pumpkin (Gosht)

This is the quintessential dish of India, particularly in the north, where meat eating is more prevalent. Every family in northern India boasts a special way of cooking or seasoning gosht, the secret of which is regarded as a prized possession and passed on from one generation to another with great traditional fanfare. But most Indians will agree that the people of Delhi, having inherited the Moghul legacy, have the most interesting interpretations of gosht. Among the Delhiites, any seasoned, spice-braised meat is called gosht, which literally means meat but usually refers to goat or sheep meat. Lamb makes a wonderful substitute. Gosht can be prepared plain or include vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips, okra or pumpkin; fruits, such as plums, dried apricots or raisins; or nuts, such as cashews or walnuts. Like any braised dish, gosht tastes even better the next day.The leaves of the cassia tree have a slightly clovelike aroma and flavor and are available dried from Indian grocers. Although they are also known as Indian bay leaves, they are not related to European bay leaves (Laurus nobilis). If cassia leaves are unavailable, the same quantity of European bay leaves may be used, although they will impart a somewhat different taste.
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