“The term ‘bhuna’ means to brown. In India we often brown the meat with the spices and masala paste towards the middle or end of the cooking process. This process, which involves turning, almost folding the meat in the pan along with the sauce over a high heat, really intensifies the flavour of the dish and here the rich, spicy sauce is thick enough to cling to the meat. We eat it with Indian breads and is lovely with a little raita on the side. Don’t be put off by the long list of spices, it is a really easy dish to make and just happens to be my Dad’s favourite curry.” Anjum Anand, Anjum's Australian Spice Stories






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (143 votes)


  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 15 g piece peeled ginger
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered 
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 500 g diced lamb leg
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • ¼-½ tsp red chilli powder, or a little paprika powder for colour
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2-4 green chillies, whole
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • handful coriander leaves and stalks, chopped (and/or a few shredded mint leaves, optional)
  • spinach and dill raita, to serve


Whole spices

  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2-3 cm piece cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods

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.


Process the tomatoes, ginger and garlic together in a blender until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the whole spices and onion and cook until the onion is well browned. Stir in the lamb, tomato mixture, ground spices, green chillies and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 15- 20 minutes or until you have a little less than half the liquid left in the pan.

Increase the heat to high and bhuno, (see introduction), stirring continuously for 6-8 minutes or until all the excess moisture has evaporated.  Add a couple of splashes of water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low again, cover and cook for another 20 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning add the lemon juice, if necessary. The sauce should cling to the meat. Stir in the coriander and serve.


Anjum's Australian Spice Stories starts Monday 4 April 2016 on Food Network Australia. Visit the program page for recipes and more.