How to make a leg of lamb with a Garam Masala sauce

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I came across this recipe when looking at Dan Toombs' blog, the Curry Guy. The picture looked amazing but when reading through the ingredients it looked great and made 'sense' so I decided to give it a go and cook it for a good friend who was vegetarian, but after 24 hours in Japan with me he turned non vegetarian (true story). He is now into his meat in a big way and he absolutely loved this.
One thing I would say is that this recipe is also a very good base for a Moroccan dish. Simply add in more sweetness with a combination of honey, apricots, sultanas, raisans, dates and / or prunes to add some sweetness.
I also cook this slowly on the hob or in an oven in a tagine. If all the original stock doesnt fit then leave some out, reduce it in a pan, and then add half way through the cooking back into the tagine when that sauce has reduced down. Also make sure you keep checking on the lamb through the cooking, ensuring you turn it over and also baste it with the sauce to keep the whole surface moist.
Recipe Type:  Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves:  4
  • 8 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Kitchen cumin seeds
  • 4 green Spice Kitchen cardamom pods
  • 4 Spice Kitchen cloves
  • 1 Spice Kitchen cassia or cinnamon stick – about one inch long
  • 1 large onion – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Spice Kitchen garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons garlic and ginger puree
  • 400ml chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre chicken, lamb or veal stock
  • 1 bottle red wine such as Merlot
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander
  1. Heat four tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan and brown each of the lamb shanks for about five minutes.
  2. When browned, remove to rest.
  3. Now add the remaining oil to the saucepan.
  4. When hot but not yet smoking, throw in the cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves and cassia.
  5. Stir the spices around in the oil for about 30 seconds being careful not to burn the spices.
  6. Add the chopped onions and garam masala and fry in the oil for about three minutes until lightly browned, translucent and soft.
  7. Scoop in the garlic and ginger purees and stir to combine before adding chopped tomatoes.
  8. Pour in the wine and stock and bring to a rolling simmer.
  9. Now add the lamb shanks, mint leaves and bay leaves, lower the heat to medium, cover the pan and braise for about an hour to an hour and a half until the meat is fall of the bone tender. Don’t rush this.
  10. When the meat is tender to your liking, remove the lamb shanks from the and set aside.
  11. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and then return the strained sauce to the pan.
  12. Reduce until only about 500ml of sauce remains and it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  13. Return the lamb shanks to the pan and simmer for about two minutes until nice and hot.
  14. Place one lamb shank on four heated plates and drizzle the sauce over the top.
  15. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander to serve.
  16. This dish goes nicely with masala mashed potatoes

NB for a Moroccan flavour add in honey, apricots, sultanas, raisans, dates and / or prunes during the cooking process. I have also added in fresh red grapes before serving which adds an amazing sweetness and compliments the sauce perfectly. Serve with Cous Cous and greek yoghurt.

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