Lamb Curry

Lamb curry recipe, lamb shanks and shoulders braised in curry sauce with potatoes, apples, raisins, and lemon. Serve with chutney, yogurt, and rice.

  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 2 lamb shanks AND 2 lamb shoulder steaks (yielding about 2 lbs of meat without the bone)
  • 1 large onions, chopped, about 3 1/2 cups
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or 1 Tbsp olive oil with butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 Meyer lemon sliced (with rind)
  • 2 peeled and chopped apples (tart green granny smith if possible), about 2 cups
  • 1/4 cup of raisins (my addition to Maria's recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth*
  • 8-12 small potatoes, quartered, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • Chutney, yogurt, rice

*If cooking gluten-free, use homemade chicken stock or gluten-free packaged broth.


1 Brown the lamb shanks on all sides: Preheat oven to 300° F. On stovetop, add the ghee or the butter-and-oil mixture to a large covered pot or Dutch oven and turn the burner to medium-high. Brown the meat well and remove it from pan.

2 Add curry powder: Add curry powder to the ghee or oil, turn the heat down to medium and cook gently for a minute or two.

3 Add onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Return lamb to pan.

4 Add coriander, black pepper, cumin, rosemary, thyme, sliced lemon, apples, raisins, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Cook for 2 hours. Check at 2 hours to see if the meat is falling off the bone. It should be starting to do so.

5 Add the potatoes and cook for another 45 minutes.

6 Serve: To serve, you can pull the meat off the bones or leave it on. Taste for salt and add some more curry powder or cayenne if you want things spicier. Serve over rice with chutney and yogurt.

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  • Stacy R

    Just added the potatoes and the entire house smells amazing. Thanks for posting; I can’t wait to eat!

  • mo

    this might seem like a stupid question. but how do you eat the yogurt chutney? do you pour it on the rice and then pour the curry on top of that?

    You would serve the curry over rice, with the chutney and the yogurt on the side. ~Elise

  • Reesha

    I am a South African Indian. Indian cooking does not use lemons/lemon juice/vinegar in a lamb curry recipe. We add the acid to a salad as a side dish. Half a large ripe fresh tomato (or a whole small fresh tomato) is usually added to the curry well after the meat has softened. The addition of tomato results in a beautiful thick gravy. Due to the fact that we eat curries often, we prevent the addition of acid, except tomatoes, as this causes gout and numerous other acid related maladies.

  • Taya

    This was just beautiful ! I’ve never cooked with curry powder before (always used curry paste) and am now going to try currying all sorts of vegetables and meats. Thanks for a really delightful dish.

  • Christal

    This curry was excellent. Thank you very much for the recipe. The lemon was a wonderful addition and cooked down perfectly. I have never used them whole before, but it certainly works.

  • Shannon

    This was my first time cooking Indian food, and I am so excited, because this was awesome, it came out way better than I could have hoped! I did add an extra cup of chicken broth, but that was my only change. I hope to see more recipes and try them out as well. This was excellent.

  • Cherita

    Hi Elise-I was wondering what kind of curry powder you used? I have found the curry powder that is available in the grocery in the States to lack a lot of flavor. I think it’s mostly tumeric powder. I have started going to a Indian groceries now to get my spices but there are many different kinds of curry powders there (madras is one I can think off the top of my head). Thanks for posting this :)

    Hi Cherita, regular ole turmeric-based curry powder is what we used. But it is worth experimenting with other kinds. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. ~Elise

  • Sharon

    We loved this recipe. Made it for a bookclub dinner to discuss a book on the Mughal history of Delhi. I did not have time to marinate the meat, so I added the cumin, corinader seeds, thyme and rosemary to the broth. I sliced one whole regular lemon into a doubled recipe, and found the fruit overall delightful, not bitter. We served it with basmati rice, this veggie curry and the regular assorted sides.

  • Kirsten

    This looks very much like something we ate with some Indian-descended families in South Africa (minus the apples and raisins). I really liked the food that our families cooked for us (except for the Springbok jerkey, lol). And I loved being served roiboss (or coffee/sweet drinks) whenever we visited people. South Africa has good food and hospitality.

    They also served us something similar to the recipe below, with rice. It has been a recipe that I’ve used for years, so I felt quite at home when they served us something with such a familiar taste! I don’t remember where I got the recipe, but it is filling and good. If you like ethnic cooking (Indian-influenced), curry, plus the filling quality of meat and potatoes, you might like this one. I’ve made it with beef, but the flavors would probably meld very well with lamb. Add extra curry if you like the heat! :-)

    Tanzanian Meat Stew
    1-2 lbs. stew meat (beef, lamb, etc.)
    1/2 cup oil
    1 tbs. salt
    Juice of one lemon
    1 cup water
    1 tsp. curry powder
    1 onion, chopped
    2-3 potatoes, cubed
    2-4 tomotoes, chopped (optional)
    1-2 carrots, chopped (optional)

    In a deep pan, fry the meat in half the oil. Add salt, lemon juice, and water. Reduce heat. Heat the remaining oil in another pan. Add the curry powder while stirring. Add onions and potatoes (and optional vegetables). Stir over medium heat until the onions are clear. Add curry-onion-potato mix to meat. Simmer until meat and potatoes are done. Serve with rice or bread.

  • Dunkin'

    I’ve heard that cooking lemons for a long time produces a bitter taste and that they should only be added at the end. The comments here seem to indicate that this is true. I’ll have to give the recipe a try.

  • geaj

    Traveling to South Africa, I picked up the greatest Lamb Curry recipe. Very similar, but no apples or raisins or potatoes, crushed tomatoes and beef broth instead. When served over rice, they added cucumber chunks mixed with yogurt, tomatoes and onions with vinegar and oil, bananas, coconut, pineapple chunks and tobasco to top it off. Amazing taste of hot and sweet! Try and enjoy!

  • Daniele

    The lamb curry was amazing! thought it was just right! Thank you for the easy recipe! Daniele

  • Redfish

    I’d suggest key limes. Juice a few, slice a couple, shouldn’t be bitter at all. Thinner skin, less white under it.

  • Anna

    I agree with ping (October 12, 2007). My husband and I tried this recipe for dinner today and we were overwhelmed and disappointed by the extremely bitter taste. Do you think that this would have been better with lemon zest and lemon juice instead of the whole lemon with the bitter white part – or did we just do something wrong?

    Lemons come in all shapes and sizes, and depending on when in the season the pith will be more or less bitter. You may be better off using a Meyer lemon, which is milder, using only half a lemon, or just grating some lemon zest to taste. ~Elise

  • ping

    Thanks again Elise! This was delicious tasting and just the simple kind of recipe we were after for a lamb curry, except the lemon rind seemed to give the dish a quite strong bitter edge. The initial smells and tastes were lovely, but the bitter aftertaste was a bit disappointing. Did we do something wrong?

  • Peter Fargo

    This recipe resulted in a lovely braised lamb dish with the curry kick I was hoping for. My experience, though, was that it needed more liquid. I cooked it covered in the oven, which may have been intended. Thanks for the easy and satisfying meal.

  • jay

    Nice one punjab, please more easy recipes like this. I live in India and sometimes the recipes are sooo complicated!

  • Punjab

    Sounds really good! In terms of basic Punjabi cuisine,we would fry some ginger with the onions and garlic. Then add some red pepper, garam masala(ground cloves,cumin,black pepper main ingedients)fry/sear the lamb till its half cooked,(throw on some salt too,if you havent)then add some tomato(sauce,canned, fresh,any combo) cook until thick and dark,then add some water.(broth could work) Cover ,and let simmer. Near the end,you could add some yogurt/sour cream.
    Possibly even garnish with cilantro. We generally serve with naan or parathas,but rice works too.
    There are fancier recipes,but this the usual homemade fare.

  • Elise

    Hi Joyce, that’s a great idea, especially if you have a big enough freezer.

  • Joyce Aney

    hey, we discovered a great way to always have lamb. last Fall, while driving around the countryside, we saw a farmer’s sign for lamb for sale. Well, I called and sure enough there it was, a half lamb all butchered, cut and wrapped for the deep freeze. It has been wonderful We are down to one package of lamb stew meat and a leg of lamb, which I’m planning for Easter dinner. I was vary pleased with the quality and the cleanliness of the meat. i plan to do the same next Fall, but may buy a whole lamb next time