Lamb Bhuna


Last year we had an Indian-themed New Year’s Eve dinner. I wanted a nice range of dishes to satiate our craving for Indian food, so I dug through all of my Indian recipe books. 

The Kerala-style ‘Bhuna’ Lamb, Pork, Beef or Veal recipe was taken from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible”. It was pretty good – the tender lamb pieces had a deliciously thick and spicy sauce adhering to every surface, that went well with plain basmati rice. 



Serves 2 as a side dish with rice

Adapted from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible”, by Madhur Jaffrey



  • 1 t whole cumin seeds
  • 2 t whole coriander seeds
  • 1 t whole mustard seeds
  • ½ t dried chili flakes
  • 1 t whole fennel seeds
  • 1 t whole fenugreek seeds
  • 2 ½ T oil
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 5-7 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped OR 100 g (3 ½ oz) crushed tomatoes from a can
  • 450 g (1 lb) leg of lamb, cut into 2 ½ cm (1 inch) pieces
  • ½ t salt



1. Place a medium frying pan (skillet) on medium heat. When it’s hot, place the cumin, coriander, mustard, chili, fennel and fenugreek seeds and stir until they are a shade dark. Empty them out and allow them to cool slightly. Once cool, place them in a pestle and mortar and grind them into a powder.

2. Pour the oil into a wide, non stick lidded pan and set over medium-high heat – when the oil is hot, add the shallots, ginger and garlic. Fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until they turn golden brown.

3. Add the curry leaves and tomatoes, stirring until the tomatoes are reduced to a thick paste.

4. Add the ground roasted spices, stir into the paste and cook for a minute.

5. Add the meat and salt, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes.

6. Add 120 ml (½ c) of just-boiled water and bring to a simmer. Cover tightly with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for about 80 minutes or until the meat is tender.

7. Remove the lid, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring continuously until the sauce has reduced to the point where it clings to the meat. Serve with basmati rice, enjoy!


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