Rustic Lamb And Coconut Curry

by | Feb 19, 2014 | 51 comments

Rustic Lamb And Coconut Curry - Cook Republic


A curry made from scratch is not only deeply satisfying, it is also incredibly tasty. The beauty of spice pairing while cooking a curry is that you often don't have to do a thing other than toss everything in a big pot and simmer until it smells like you just want to eat it. No wonder curries are a constant in my busy life.

Every curry rests its laurels on a delicious sauce, whether it is dry-ish and chunky or creamy and spoonable. If you are a fan of a creamy simmered sauce, a blender will be your lifesaver. Besides, when you are not mixing up curry bases you will be concocting smoothies. So if you don't have a blender, get one. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it will make your life easier.


Lamb And Coconut Curry - Cook Republic


I love using whole crushed cardamom pods in my curries (there are some delicious recipes in the book as well). Green cardamom is readily available everywhere and is used in many different cuisines. It is fragrant and has a sweet flavour quality thereby making it ideal for sweet desserts as well as delicate savoury dishes. Black cardamom, also known as Bengal cardamom or brown cardamom has a much bigger pod and an intense smoky fragrant flavour. This makes it ideal for hearty curries and it is rarely ever used for desserts.


The flavour of the black cardamom is quite unique and if you happen to find it (most likely at your local Indian or Nepalese grocer), your curry will take on that distinct flavour you associate with good Indian restaurant curry. One crushed pod in a pot of curry for four is all you will need. The longer it simmers and cooks, the more intense the flavour.


Green And Black Cardamom - Photo, Sneh Roy

Lamb Curry - Sneh Roy, Photography and Styling

Lamb And Coconut Curry - Cook Republic



Rustic Lamb Curry - Cook Republic


5 from 2 votes
A fuss-free north-Indian-inspired curry with succulent lamb pieces and a creamy coconut and spice sauce makes your weeknight smell like an Indian restaurant.
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Author: Sneh
Course // Curry, Dinner, Lamb, Mains
Cuisine // Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Indian
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 500 g lamb, boneless and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large red onions
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1- inch piece of ginger
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 1 tablespoon ghee/butter
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk


  • Place lamb pieces and potatoes in a large bowl. Add turmeric and salt. Mix well. Cover and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Place onion, garlic, ginger, coriander leaves and chilli in the jug of a blender with 1 cup of water. Process until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or cast-iron casserole, heat ghee on high. Add cinnamon, bay leaf, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and black cardamom. Sauté for a few seconds. Add the marinated meat and potatoes. Sauté for a few minutes, tossing occasionally until meat is sealed on the outside and starting to brown. Add the onion mixture and reduce heat to medium.
  • Add cumin, garam masala and tomatoes. Season with salt to taste. Cover and simmer on medium for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add coconut milk. Cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice.


  1. This curry is sauce heavy. You can easily remedy this by increasing the quantity of lamb to 800g and adding an extra potato.
  2. Some things you can do to assure your curry is more authentic tasting. Use ghee instead of oil or butter. Do not use curry powder or paste. Don't skimp on the spices.
  3. I have made the above curry with goat. It is probably even more delicious.
  4. Slow Cooker Version - Reduce the amount of water to puree onions from 1 cup to 1/4 cup. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. You can substitute the protein for chicken or even a medley of vegetables and chickpeas for a meat-free option.
  6. Curry freezes well for a month in the freezer. I like to make a big batch of the curry and pack it in several containers with rice for quick work lunches throughout the month.
Did you make my recipe?I'd love to hear how you went! Tag me on Instagram @cookrepublic


Find More Recipes By CategoryIndian Main Course Meat Slow Cooking



I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. Simone

    5 stars
    This is my favorite recipe to cook next to the palak paneer!

  2. Cathy

    Hi Sneh, re cooking in a slow cooker- would 6 hours be enough and would I need to steam the potatoes first? What sized chunks of potato would you recommend?
    It looks perfect for family Sunday dinner soon as Summer is on the run now.

    • Sneh

      Hi Cathy, I think 6-8 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high would be perfect in the slow cooker. No need to steam potatoes first, they'll cook well and still hold their shape in the curry. If I am using a medium sized potato (fits in the palm of my small-medium sized hand), I cut it into 8 pieces (each piece roughly 1.5-2 inches big), this is how you would find potatoes in "dhaba style" curries (rustic curries cooked on open fires along the highways of India).

  3. Ania

    5 stars
    Wow, looks so amazing Sneh! Do you think it would work if I put it in the oven (instead of on stovetop ) for the 40 minutes, added coconut milk and put back into the oven for the remainder of time? Or if I put it into the oven would I cook it for longer?

    • Sneh

      Thanks Ania! Yes of course, you can cook in the oven. The searing the meat part must still be done on the cooktop after which you can add the sauce spices and pop in oven (uncovered) for 40 minutes at 200°C to mainly cook the sauce and then covered (lid or foil) for an additional 40 minutes to tenderize the meat. Follow this for red meat.

  4. Terry (Ted) M. Muse

    Hi Sneh,
    Awesome looking recipe!! Going to try it in a couple of days for sure. My question is, will it hurt to chop up some fresh mint leaves with this recipe? My family and I love mint in just about everything we cook. Especially Indian foods. Thanks :-))
    Terry (Ted)

    • Sneh

      Cheers Terry! Absolutely add mint .. in traditional Awadh/Moghal Indian cooking, meats like lamb or often finished off with a generous sprinkling of fresh chopped coriander and mint. It would pair beautifully with the cumin and garam masal in the recipe. Hope you enjoy. x

  5. Mike

    Hi Sneh,

    Thanks for this - I am very keen to try making this as it looks and sounds wonderful.

    One question though - do you tenderize your lamb beforehand? Any lamb curry I've ever cooked for only an hour or so leaves the lamb still quite stringy and/or tough and certainly nothing like tender or "melt in the mouth"... do you do anything special to it first? Perhaps it's the Australian lamb (I'm in Sydney as well) because when I'm at home in NZ I never have the problem - the lamb ios pretty much perfect after 60-90 mins. But here in Oz I always have to cook my lamb curries for at least 2 hours but usually more like 3 to get the lamb tender - what's your secret?!

    • snehroy

      Hi Mike! Thanks, I do hope you make this .. it is one of my most cooked recipes on the blog by my readers and they all love it. I find the results with lamb vary depending on the source of the lamb itself. But one thing that always works is first sautéing the lamb on very high heat with a bit of oil in a pan. The extreme high heat quickly cooks the outside sealing all the moisture inside. Once I have done this, I proceed to cook it in the manner the recipe calls for. If I am slow-cooking the recipe, I don't do this but for everything else, that quick blast of high heat does wonders to keep the meat tender. Hope that helps x

  6. Abbi

    this looks amazing I may make it but can you tell me if any adjustments need to be made to the liquid to make in a slow cooker and for how long do i cook it

    • Sneh

      Abbi, you could slow cook this for 6-8 hours on "Low". When pureeing the onion mix, reduce 1 cup water to 1/4 cup.

  7. Jamieanne

    Hi Sneh! I made this for dinner last night, It was so easy to make and the aromas filling my kitchen as it cooked were incredible! We all loved it - so delicious and filling - and I'll definitely be making it again! Thank you for such a lovely recipe! 🙂

  8. Tammii Caught

    Hi Sneh,

    I made this last night for my husband and eight year-old son and I must say this is one of the best curries I have every made - and it's all thanks to you! My son scored it an 8.5 out of 10!

    I absolutely loved the blend of ingredients and taking the time to cook it and letting the flavours develop.

    It was fun exploring my local Indian store to pick up some fresh spices and the ghee which I have never cooked with before. Although I only used a quarter of a chilli as we don't eat very hot foods 🙂

    Thank you for such a beautiful recipe and already I have shared it with my Mum, along with some black cardamom seeds and ghee.

    • Sneh

      oh so happy! high praise from your son 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it so much xx

  9. jake3_14

    This was a grand slam on the first try! The only drawback was that the recipe produces an enormous amount of sauce for the amount of meat. I literallly quadrupled the amount of meat without changing anything else (except the amount of salt) for some 3 clients' batches, and there was still enough sauce to make everyone happy. It also made for a pretty picture:

    • Sneh

      Looks super delicious! Your entire menu! x

  10. Janita K

    Made this last night for a Dr Who party for 8. The texture was just so right, and the idea of blending the onions into a slurry with other ingredients I will duplicate in other dishes (like dhal) where the right texture is not so easy to achieve. This is a rustic and authentically flavoured dish with the texture scoring 10/10! I am a bit hooked on Thai curries, so I added a good round of Palm sugar, and added stock, to replace the water because I needed more salt. Used green cardamom, but will make a pest of myself at the local Indian groceries until I find black cardamom. Thanks for the education. Love your work !
    Hervey Bay, QLD

    • Sneh

      Thanks for a lovely feedback Janita! x

  11. Andrea L

    I made this recipe tonight and it was absolutely fantastic! Incredibly easy to make, and full of flavour. Perfect for a cold night!

  12. Susan

    I was just looking for Cardamon Pods (for my fave fragrant rice recipe) at my local yesterday, and they were sold out... maybe everyone's been trying this recipe! I'll give it a go also once my store is back in stock - looks yummy!

  13. Krystal

    Looks delicious I am certainly going to give this recipe a go thanks!

  14. Amanda @ Gourmanda

    I keep meaning to buy ghee, especially after an Indian colleague taught me how to make parathas at home. I think I'll have to plan a meal of those home-made parathas and this curry!

  15. Helen @ Scrummy Lane

    I'm always put off making my own curries without using a paste as it seems like too much effort, but I love that the ingredients list for this recipe seems quite manageable! Curries with coconut milk and tomatoes are always a winner for me too so this is definitely up my street. Congrats on the cookbook by the way.

  16. Jenni

    Made this on the weekend using beef instead of lamb & it was great! One of the few curry recipes I have made where the quantities of spice were just right - often I find they need quite a bit of adjusting to get a good balance.

  17. Sana

    How would the process change if I decided to make this in the slow cooker? I love all the indian recipes on your blog! It reminds me of back home!

    • Sneh

      Hi Sana! When I make this in the slow cooker, I literally put everything in all at once and let it slow cook on low for about 4 hours.

  18. Leanne

    Just found you via Pinterest and might go a little crazy going through your recipe archive. Reckon this could simmer on low in a slow cooker all day? Would be great to come home to. One would still have to let the lamb marinate (overnight ok?) in the fridge, and saute the spices to get them going yes?


    • Sneh

      Yes, it could. Although I don't usually marinate, just chuck in pan straight away 🙂

  19. catherine

    Hi Sneh! I'm not commenting so much on this curry, as divine as it looks. Just to say, I "discovered" your blog a couple of months ago, and LOVE it. I live in Los Angeles and my boyfriend is from New Delhi, and all he hears these days is "Sneh this" and "Sneh that"! I am kitchen-obsessed and adore your mix of fresh garden ingredients and healthful flavors and wonderful Indian techniques and spices. Thank you!

    • Sneh

      thank you for your sweet words Catherine 🙂 I am really glad you are enjoying the blog. I hope you have a lovely end of the week (and weekend!). Happy cooking! x

  20. Karen @ Lemon Grove Cake Diaries

    Ok I am off to find black cardamom as well, fingers crossed my local Indian supermarket has them. This is bookmarked for dinner on Saturday!

  21. Jesse Gabriel

    Hallo Snhe.
    Ich bin bis heute nur ein stiller leser ihres Blogs gewesen, jetzt möchte ich aber doch ein mal schreiben, dass ich ihren Blog wundervoll finde.
    Tolle Rezepte und von hier Photography kann ich nicht genug bekommen.
    Weiter so!
    Viele Grüße,
    Jesse Gabriel aus Berlin

    • Sneh

      Thank you for your lovely comment Jesse. Hope you are having a good day! x

  22. Erin

    Wow this looks amazing.

    I need to do a braising dish with my class, and I had a lam curry in mond. Might give this a try!


  23. Linda

    Your curry looks scrumptious! Love the addition of lamb. My type of comfort food.

  24. Beauty Ressort

    That looks so delicious! Can't wait to try it!

  25. Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I love curry and yours sounds so flavorful with the mix of spices and lamb!

  26. saucy gander

    A big batch of this curry would be awesome! Off to find brown cardamom this weekend.

  27. Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker

    This curry looks soo warm and inviting. Want to serve this with a big bowl of fluffy coriander rice!

  28. Belinda@themoonblushbaker

    It is so sad to see summer coming to end in Aussie but I am sure glad your cooking has catered to this! I adore curries in hot weather or cold. I am sure to get my crock pot out, sooner than expected, to cook this weekend wonder.

  29. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    You're right, there is just something so rewarding about putting a few spices together to create the most fantastic aroma and best tasting dish.

  30. Rosa

    A scrumptious and comforting curry!



  31. Melanie Hall

    Hi Sneh - and thanks for yet another beautiful post; I totally concur, nothing gives the depth of flavour that preparing the curry from scratch brings. So many of the prepared pastes and spice mixes have vinegar and preservatives in them, plus the experience of picking up a jar of pre-made paste is a very tame one when compared to wandering the aisles of an Asian supermarket and pondering not only how things might be used, but even what they might be! Then cooking really becomes an adventure...

  32. Francesca

    Ah Thanks for all the other suggestions. I am having a curry weekend coming up so will use this, substituting beef or chicken and try it in a slow cooker.

  33. Melissa

    I love a good curry and this one looks particularly nice. I might try it with goat too.

  34. dixya@food, pleasure, and health

    since i dont use a lot of lamb, thanks for other protein option. i love anything that involves curry and coconut..lovely pictures.

  35. Eileen

    This curry sounds amazing! I don't think I've ever seen black cardamom pods before--going to have to keep my eyes open for some of those. 🙂

  36. Sharna

    Can you substitute the coconut milk for regular milk?

    • Sneh

      Sharna, you'd need something thicker. Half cup light cooking cream (pouring consistency) would do the trick. Alternatively, you could also use yoghurt. Although the coconut milk imparts an amazing flavour.

  37. Jane @ Shady Baker

    This looks seriously good Sneh, love your photos!

  38. amanda

    just printed for the weekend!!!!


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