Lamb Masala

Usually when the lamb season starts, I start enjoying it by grilling lamb chops. However, since it has been quite cold for over a week I decided to make an Indian curry. Even though I have been preparing Indian curries for years, I am not sure if the sources I take them from are not too “westernised”… This time I decided to look for more “genuine” sounding recipes and finally chose to adapt the Mutton Masala from the recently discovered Hooked on Heat blog. All I can say is I was not disappointed. The word “masala” means roughly “mixture”; on one hand it can be a mixture of spices (dried or forming a paste used in curries) and, on the other, a name of a dish and this one tasted like nothing I have ever had at home or in any Indian restaurant. It was perfect and confirmed what I have always suspected: a good Indian dish is not necessarily full of fat! I will certainly come back to Hooked on Heat for new recipes!

Since I have bad experience with whole spices in sauces and hate biting into a clove by accident, I crushed peppercorns, used powdered cinnamon and cloves. Cumin is the only spice I left whole. I have also changed a bit the ingredients’ proportions and didn’t have any coriander to sprinkle on the dish (the mint branch served merely as a decoration). However I am sure it tastes perfect with fresh coriander.

I used lamb instead of mutton. Maybe this is the reason I had to let the dish simmer for 3 hours; the meat softened very slowly…

Preparation: 3 hours

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 kg lamb cut into 2 – 3 cm cubes

1 big onion, sliced

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon grated/crushed fresh ginger

1 tablespoon tomato paste

chopped fresh chilies (I used four chilies, since they were not very hot)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon (the recipe calls for 1 cinnamon stick)

2 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns (the recipe calls for whole peppercorns)

2 teaspoons ground cloves (or whole 7-8 cloves as in the original recipe)

1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric

1 tablespoon powdered coriander

1 teaspoon chili powder (or more)


(chopped fresh coriander leaves)

Fry the cumin seeds in oil for one minute.

Add the onion and brown it a bit.

Add the meat, the fresh chillies, the garlic and the ginger.

Let it fry for a couple of minutes, stirring.

Add the chili powder, the turmeric, the powdered coriander and the salt and stir well.

Finally, when the meat starts to brown,  add the remaining ingredients and 500 ml water.

Cover and let it simmer until the meat is tender (the recipe says 30-35 minutes, but my meat became tender only after 3 hours). Add water if necessary.

Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander.

2 Replies to “Lamb Masala”

    1. Thank you! It was actually very good and original!
      Where I live it’s easier sometimes to get good lamb from New Zealand or Australia than the Swiss one 😉 (I mean the New Zealand and Australian is usually more tender…), but I have recently found a good butcher who has only free range animals’ meat 🙂

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