The best Bangladeshi lamb curry recipe

February 21, 2014
Lamb curry recipe
How to make lamb curry

Courtesy of being Bengali, I do get many friends asking me how to make an authentic curry.

Now I’m no Masterchef by any means, however I have been brought up on the homemade stuff. I wouldn’t dream of using a jar or any other shortcut.  It’s practically blasphemy for me!
Readers have devoured my masala fish so I thought I’d share my mum’s homemade lamb curry recipe, made from scratch.
It’s actually a lot easier than you may think. But you might need to buy some specialist ingredients, bought from an Asian store or the worldwide section at a supermarket.
Oh, and if you love curry, you MUST check out my Bangladeshi roast chicken recipe here. It might just be the best roast chicken you’ve had. Ever.

Bangladeshi lamb curry recipe

Ingredients for lamb curry for 4-6 people

  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 500g lamb pieces (ideally some pieces should have bone on.  This is where most of the flavour is.  Try to get a mixture of fillet, shanks and other cuts) 
  • Approx. 4-5 medium onions, peeled and sliced into eighths
  • 2-3 lengths of cinnamon sticks (otherwise known as dalchini)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Approx 4-5 cardamon pods
    Approx 1sq inch of fresh ginger, finely ground or blended (I have to emphasise that your ginger needs to be blended to almost nothing, or one bite of chunky ginger can ruin your meal)     
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced or ground (no need to chop finely, they dissolve in the cooking process)          
  • 1 flat tbsp of chilli powder (less if you prefer it mild)
  • 1 flat tbsp of turmeric
  • 2/3 of a tbsp of ground cumin (jeera)
  • 1 heaped tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp of medium curry powder (go for hot curry powder if you prefer heat.  Otherwise opt for mild if you’re the other way inclined.  I go for medium as it’s… well… a happy medium)
  • Bunch of fresh coriander to garnish (optional)
  •  1 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • Pinch of five spice seeds, or nigella seeds, otherwise known as kalunji (optional)
  • 1 chopped tomato (optional)
Optional vegetable additions:  
Now I have to be honest, all the ingredients above are more of a ‘finger in the air’ estimate, rather than an accurate measurement.  You don’t have to be uber methodical with homemade lamb curry, this is more of a guide.

Method for Bangladeshi lamb curry

  • To start you add the five spice and nigella seeds to a dry, hot pan, so they roast a little.  This first bit is entirely optional.  Neither my mum not mother-in-law add seeds to begin, so you don’t have to.  I just like to as I feel it adds some extra aroma.
  • Then add the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks to the pan.
  • Add the meat to the pan and let it cook slightly for a few minutes, just so that it releases some of its water.  Next, you add the chopped onions, oil, garlic and ginger.  Cover the pan and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.  This process usually takes around 15 minutes.  However, you’ll know it’s ready when the water from the meat has evaporated and it starts to look a little dry and the onions soft.
Slow cooked lamb, melting with onions
  • Next you add all the spices to the meat and stir. You’re dish should look a deep reddy-brown by now. But don’t worry if it doesn’t – it will go darker during the cooking process.  After stirring the meat for a couple of minutes, you add around two glasses of boiling water.  I don’t have a ‘finger in the air’ measure of this, but just fill with water until the meat is completely covered with about 1cm of water on top.
  • At this stage, you can add any vegetables if you want to.  Potatoes and meat are a classic combo, carrots go well, slices cabbage, cauliflower and even brussel sprouts are delicious with lamb.  Peppers also go great in curry, however, as they don’t take long to cook, you want to add them in the last five minutes of cooking.
  • You can also add tomato if you like at the last ten minutes of cooking.  Again people’s views vary on this.  I tend to add some tomato, whether fresh or tinned chopped tomatoes, if I’m making a meat only curry without any vegetables.  However, some people prefer it dark.
  • The key to adding any vegetables is don’t overload.  The meat is the star of this dish.  Also, factor in additional water if you include veg, just so the entire dish is immersed.
  • Bring the pan to the boil and leave to cook for about another 15-20 minutes.  You can stew it longer, and meat gets better the longer it is cooked, but I’d say no more than 30-40 minutes as the pan could dry out and your meat can burn if not watched.
  • Finally, you can garnish the dish in the last few minutes of cooking with the chopped coriander.

Homemade lamb curry – done!

So all in, your dish should take between 45 minutes to an hour.
However, the beauty of it is that most of the time is taken in stewing, there’s actually very little you have to do.
So if you’ve never had homemade curry, I’d recommend giving it a try.  You’ll never want to use a jar again.

If you like this, you’ll LOVE my Bangladeshi roast chicken. Get the recipe here.

For my Turkish aubergine recipe, click here.

For more of my recipes from around the world, click here.


About the Author


I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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