Greg's lamb Madras
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I have the original of this recipe from “A little taste of India”, a cookbook I bought for $6.98 in San Francisco airport in May 2006. I was quite happy to find a good, cheap book, since I had been looking in vain in Australia for something like this for some time. As a result, it's all the more amusing to note that this book was published in Australia.

The ingredients in this recipe are pretty much exactly as in the original (that's a recommendation for the book; normally I find a lot of things I need to change). I've changed the procedure, however, to suit my equipment. In particular, I blend onions, garlic and ginger with oil, so that they make a consistent purée. The oil then serves for frying the ingredients, so no more should be needed. The original recipe expects there to be too much oil, though I haven't had this problem myself; it's best to use as little oil as possible, obviously.


quantity       ingredient       step
1 kg       boneless leg or shoulder of lamb       1
10 g       ground turmeric       1
20 g       coriander seeds       2
10 g       cumin seeds       2
3 g       dried chilies or chili powder       2 or 6
80 ml       oil       3, 6
500 g       onions       3
12       curry leaves       6, 11
50 g       garlic       6
35 g       ginger       6
600 ml       coconut milk       7, 10
20 g       tamarind purée       8
3 g       fennel seeds       9
2 g       cinnamon       10
2 g (about 6)       cardamom pods       10
24 g       salt       10

Note: 1 kg boneless lamb corresponds approximately to 1.8 kg leg of lamb with bone and fat.


This dish contains lots of coconut milk, making it very easy to burn it. Stir almost constantly.


  1. Cut lamb into cubes of 2 cm or less on side. Rub the cubed lamb with the ground turmeric.

  2. Roast the spices in a dry frying pan until aromatic. If using whole dried chilies, include them in this phase. Cool.

    The original recipe recommends doing them one after another, but I can't see any good reason for this.

  3. Chop onions roughly into 8 pieces and put into a blender with enough oil to blend it to a purée.

  4. Put the onion purée into a frying pan and fry over low heat until dry, about ten minutes. Normally you won't need any additional oil. During this time you can perform the next two steps.

  5. Grind the roasted spices (step 2) to a powder in a spice grinder.

  6. Chop the garlic and ginger coarsely and blend them with oil in the same manner as the onion. Add the ground spices and six curry leaves. If using chili powder, add it now.

  7. When the onion is dry, add the garlic, ginger and spice mixture and cook for two to three minutes until warm and aromatic. Add the meat and mix well with the paste, then fry a couple of minutes until the meat starts to become firm. Add 500 ml of the coconut milk and bring to the boil. While cooking, repeatedly scrape the bottom of the pan with a flat spatula to avoid burning. Reduce the liquid slightly.

  8. Mix the tamarind purée with 125 ml hot water. Allow to cool.

  9. Dry-roast the fennel in a frying pan. Allow to cool, do not grind.

  10. When the sauce has reduced by about 10%, add the remaining coconut milk, the cinnamon stick, caradamom pods and fennel seeds and salt. Partially cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium heat for 1 hour or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.

    The original recipe asks for 60 ml of water too. I haven't found this necessary.

  11. When the meat is tender, add the tamarind purée and check the seasoning. Stir until the oil separates from the meat, then spoon it off or blot with paper towels before removing the pan from the heat. Stir well and garnish with curry leaves.

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