Madras inspired slow cooked lamb shoulder

Lamb shoulder has to be cooked long and slow to achieve maximum tenderness and succulence. This makes it a great choice for a deceptively simple slow roast, on or off the bone – although keeping the bone in adds an extra level of flavour as it cooks. The deliciousness factor is elevated by the earthy flavours of a Madras style curry marinade and sauce. Madras curry has its origins in Southern India, before being widely adopted as a national dish in the UK. There are many versions, however the base notes remain – ginger, chilli, aniseed, coriander and cinnamon, with a sour note of lemon or vinegar.








  • 2.5kg lamb shoulder,
    on the bone
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 30 curry leaves
  • 1-2 bird’s eye chillies
    (depending on your desired
    heat), split in half lengthwise
  • 2 medium brown onions,
    halved and thinly sliced
  • 3cm piece ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 200ml kefir
  • 80g toasted pistachios,
  • 2 lemons, juice and
    finely grated zest
  • 80g ghee
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 6 garlic cloves,
    finely chopped
  • 400ml coconut cream

To garnish

  • 2 curry leaves, toasted
  • Handful coriander leaves



Trim lamb of excess fat and score flesh to create more surface area for the marinade to coat. In a dry frying pan over a low heat, toast fennel, coriander, cloves and half of the curry leaves, until fragrant. Blitz the toasted spices in a spice blender or food processor, until finely ground. In a flat bottom container large enough to hold the lamb, combine the freshly ground spices with the chillies, onion, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, asafoetida, kefir, pistachios, lemon zest and half the lemon juice. Season with salt and add the lamb, massaging the marinade into the meat. Wrap the lamb and any excess marinade tightly in clingfilm, refrigerate for 24 hours.


Remove lamb from the fridge, set aside and bring to room temperature (this will take 60-90 minutes).

Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C. In a heavy based casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid, melt the ghee, add the cinnamon, star anise and remaining curry leaves, sauté for about 45 seconds, the leaves will start to pop. Add the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds until softened but not browned. Pour in the coconut cream, stirring to combine. Add  the lamb and its marinade turning a couple of times in the coconut cream.


Cover and roast gently for 3 ½ – 4 hours, turning several times  throughout, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Finish with the remaining lemon juice, a sprinkle of sea salt and a scattering of coriander or toasted curry leaves.

4. To serve

Serve with paratha, basmati rice, pickled pumpkin, cauliflower sautéed with fennel and cardamom and chutneys.