This Thai lamb shank curry is a great dish for a large family feast. In this recipe the shanks are gently braised in a separate pot until tender then added to the rich spiced curry sauce at the end. Serve as part of a shared meal.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (51 votes)


  • ¼ cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 6 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • â…“ cup palm sugar
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 6 makrut lime leaves
  • coriander and mint leaves, to serve

Lamb shanks

  • vegetable oil, for sealing
  • 12 lamb shanks, French trimmed
  • sea salt
  • 2 stems celery, leaves removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • water, to cover 

Curry paste

  • 6 dried red chillies, halved, deseeded and soaked until soft, squeeze dry
  • 3 slices galangal, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 shallots or Â½ red onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp sliced lemongrass
  • 6 coriander roots, sliced
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To cook the lamb shanks. Heat a large pot (large enough to fit all the shanks at once) over medium-high heat and seal shanks in a little oil and season with sea salt. Remove from the pan. 

Add vegetables to pot, return shanks to the pot on top of the vegetables. Add enough water to just cover the shanks, bring to the boil then reduce heat until just simmering. Cover and simmer for approximately 2 hours or until tender. 

Meanwhile, to make the curry paste, pound all ingredients together in a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste forms.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, gently fry curry paste in vegetable oil, until aromatic. Gradually add coconut milk. Add turmeric and stir through. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce reduces by half.

Check the shanks making sure they are tender and meat is coming away from the bone.  Add palm sugar, fish sauce, makrut lime leaves to the sauce and cook gently. Transfer hot shanks to the curry sauce. Serve sprinkled with fresh herbs with toasted bread or steamed jasmine rice.