Bhuna is a Punjabi word; it means to reduce down, to caramelise and to cook on high heat. The result is a dish that has a great depth of flavour, and wonderfully tender lamb, too. 






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (125 votes)


  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 3 black cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken in half
  • 2.5 cm (1 in) piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 kg lamb fillet, neck, shoulder or leg, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 400 g tin of tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced

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.


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy based saucepan. Crush 3 cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and add to the oil along with the cinnamon stick. Heat for 30 seconds.

2. Next add the ginger and the garlic - stir and then add in the meat, stir to coat and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Now add the garam masala, coriander, chili powder and salt, Stir and cook for 30 seconds, or until you can smell the aroma of them roasting. Stir in the tomatoes and onions.

4. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 40 minutes, keeping everything nice and tender.

5. The meat and the sauce will now have a shiny appearance as the oil separates. Increase the heat and stir continuously for 10 minutes. If the sauce begins to stick add a splash of water. The reduction of the liquid will allow you to fry the spices and meat as you stir. This process is the 'bhun' and is what adds the depth of flavour.

6. Add 200 ml of boiling water and stir. Simmer for a further 10 minutes or until tender.