I love big-flavoured northern Indian curries like this: complex, interesting and spicy, with a rich red gravy.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (39 votes)


  • 1 knob ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 80 ml mustard oil
  • 1 kg of boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 4cm dice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 black cardamoms, cracked
  • 4 green cardamoms, cracked
  • 4 mace blades
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 stick cassia
  • 2 Indian bay leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup urad dhal, washed
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (see Note)
  • 8 long red chilies, split, seeds removed and chopped roughly
  • 250 g sheep’s milk yogurt
  • 2 cups water 
  • 4 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • rice and/or naan (get Gary's recipe here), to serve
  • yoghurt, to serve, optional

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.


Using a mortar and pestle or blender, grind the ginger and garlic together to form a paste. 

Heat a heavy based pan over a high heat and add half the mustard oil. Season the lamb with the salt and add the lamb pieces to the pan. Brown well on all sides, approximately 5 minutes, then remove from the pan onto a plate and set aside.

Heat a heavy-based large pot over a medium heat and add the remaining mustard oil. Add the whole spices and cook for 1-2 minutes or until you hear them pop and sizzle. Add urad and the asafetida, stir and then add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until golden brown.

Place the lamb into the pot, reserving the juices, add 2 tbsp of the ginger and garlic paste, the turmeric, chilli powder and fresh chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring regularly.

Add a cup of water to the lamb juices and stir to combine.

Add the yogurt and lamb juices and stir well to combine and then add another cup or half cup of the water (see Note). Bring to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer for 1½ hours or until the lamb is tender, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with yoghurt and basmati rice, bread or both.



• Kashmiri chilli powder is available from spice merchants and Indian grocers.

• You can use less water, or reduce the sauce to achieve a thicker consistency, if desired.