Indian Lamb Curry


serves 6
2 - 2.3 kg (4 1/2 - 5 lb) shoulder of lamb, boned out flat
5 - 6.5 cm (2 - 2 1/2 in) piece of root ginger, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 green chillies, seeded and chopped
4 ml (3/4 tsp) ground cardamom
22.5 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) ground coriander
22.5 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) ground cumin
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cloves
5 ml (1 tsp) saffron strands and 45 ml (3 tbsp) boiling water or a large pinch of saffron powder
75 g (3 oz) butter
3 small onions, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
425 ml (15 fl oz) yoghurt
45 ml (3 tbsp) lemon juice
22.5 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) freshly chopped coriander or parsley
1 lemon, thinly sliced
sprigs of coriander or flat-leaved parsley to garnish
boiled rice, to serve


1. Cut the lamb into 25 mm (1 in) cubes, discarding a little of the outside fat. Put the cubes in a large bowl.

2. Put the chopped ginger, garlic and chillies with 125 ml (4 fl oz) water in a blender and puree until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a mortar. Add the ground cardamom, coriander, cumin and cloves and work with a pestle to a smooth paste. Add the spicy mixture to the meat cubes and mix well. Pour 45 ml (3 tbsp) boiling water over the saffron strands, if using, in a cup.

3. Melt 40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter in a large casserole over a gentle heat. Add the finely chopped onions and saute, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

4. Melt the remaining butter in the same casserole. Add half the spicy lamb cubes and saute for 8 - 10 minutes or until light brown, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Saute the second batch of lamb cubes. Return the first batch of lamb and sauteed onions to the casserole. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

5. Put the yoghurt in a bowl and pour in the saffron strands and their liquid or add the saffron powder. Stir to combine, then add the mixture to the casserole. Place over a low heat until the liquid is gently simmering. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until the lamb is tender.

6. Just before serving, stir the lemon juice into the casserole. Transfer the curry to a heated serving dish. Sprinkle with chopped coriander or parsley and garnish with lemon slices and coriander or parsely sprigs around the platter. Serve immediately with boiled rice.

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