Curries Indian Lamb Main course

Masala lamb shanks


  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 and a half tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Half a cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods, bashed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 green or red chilli, sliced lengthways
  • small handful fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
  • Curry paste:
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut


Put the lamb shanks in a large pan with the turmeric, ginger, garlic and a large pinch of salt. Add enough water to cover and simmer gently for 1 and a half – 2 hours or until tender.

Meanwhile, grind the coriander, poppy and fennel seeds, the peppercorns and the dried chilli using a pestle and mortar. Add a pinch of sea salt to act as an abrasive. When the seeds are almost ground, add the coconut and grind into the spices. Set aside.

When the lamb shanks are cooked, remove from the pan and reserve the cooking liquor. Remove the meat from the shanks – discard the bones and fat.

Heat the groundnut oil in a deep frying pan and add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Fry until aromatic. Add the onion and fry until softened and slightly browned. Add the cumin, ground coriander and chilli and fry off for a few minutes. Then add the tomato and a splash of water. Add the curry paste and cook for a few minutes before adding the lamb meat and enough of the cooking liquor to make a good sauce consistency. Warm through for 5-10 minutes. Season with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch more salt if needed. Garnish with the fresh coriander.

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