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Malaysian spiced lamb curry


Cooking time
2-3 hours

6 cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
3 onions
3 cloves garlic, peeled
5cm piece ginger, peeled
3 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
1kg boneless lamb (leg or shoulder) cut into chunks
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
400ml can coconut milk
some fresh mint leaves, chopped


This is a really great Malaysian spiced lamb curry, beautifully spiced with a creamy coconut sauce and a fresh zing from the mint. Apologies for the slightly blurry picture…must have been the wine!

Split the cardamom pods and extract the seeds. Roughly crush the seeds with the cumin seeds and chilli flakes using a pestle and mortar, then mix in the coriander and paprika.

Roughly chop two of the onions and whizz in a blender with the garlic and ginger to form a paste. Add the spices and mix well. Slice the remaining onion and fry in the oil in a large pan for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured. Add the spice paste and cook gently, stirring, for 5 minutes until darkened slightly.

Add the lamb to the pan and stir well to coat in the spices. Pour in enough water to just cover the meat (about 350ml) and plenty salt and pepper. Next, add the cinnamon stick and star anise. Cover and simmer slowly for 1 and a half to 2 hours until the lamb is really tender.

For the last half hour, add the coconut milk and allow to simmer with the lid off to thicken slightly. Taste to check the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.

When ready to serve, add the mint and mix through. Serve with basmati rice and a squeeze of lime.

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