Coconut Lamb Curry

Based on Suvir Saran’s “Lamb Curry with Coriander, Garam Masala and Coconut


Spice Paste

Combine all of the ingredients in a spice grinder and grind to a paste, using a little water if you need to. Set aside.

  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 16 fresh or 24 frozen curry leaves
  • 2 whole, dried red chiles
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, or 1/4 cup ground blanched almonds

Onion Mix

Purée in a food processor (or blender with some water, the onion releases a lot of water)

  • 2 medium red onions, chopped into large blocks
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 pounds well trimmed, boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1- to 1 1/2- inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garm masala
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Add half the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole over medium-high heat, then add the lamb in batches. To achieve browning, make sure there’s space between the lamb pieces so the steam from the meat doesn’t moisten the meat. Put the batch of meat in a plate.
  2. While waiting, chop one of the onions.
  3. When all the meat is browned and set aside, put the rest of the oil, and throw in the chopped onion and the salt. (Don’t clean the pot.) Stir often, until the onion just begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. When the onion has browned, add the spice paste and the browned lamb. Stir until the mixture is uniform.
  5. Add the pureed onion mixture and cook, stirring, until the mixture is dry and the oil begins to separate, about 10 more minutes.
  6. Add the coriander and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes.
  7. Add the yogurt a tablespoon at a time, and stirring well after each addition. Then cook, stirring often, until the mixture is dry again and the meat is beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the water and garam masala, stir well, and simmer, covered, until the lamb is tender, 35 to 40 more minutes.
  9. Just before serving, add the cream, if using, and bring almost to a simmer.
  10. Taste for salt. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve hot.

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