Cardamom Lamb Curry

Cardamom and lamb might not be obvious flavours to pair together, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! While the typical British Curry house – lamb rogan josh, and the like – can blow your head off, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find this to be a fragrant and aromatic curry. Very more-ish.
Part of the beauty of this cardamom lamb curry is that it takes so little time to prepare. It makes a great centrepiece in a feast, or a delicious stand-alone dish, served with rice. I find that adding that burst of fresh spice at the end (in the form of the cardamom salt and ground coriander) gives a real brightness to the otherwise well-developed, slow-cooked flavours. (Note, don’t shy away from using mutton if you have access to it, for a more traditional dhaniwal korma)


2tbsp + 2tbsp neutral oil (or ghee)
12 cardamom pods
850g-1kg lamb, chunks on the bone (or you could use 500-600g boneless lamb rump or neck fillet)
2 onions, sliced
5cm chunk of ginger, peeled and finely diced
4 green chillies (whole)
2tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
½ tsp Cayenne pepper
5tbsp plain yoghurt
500ml vegetable stock
1tsp Ground Coriander
1tsp salt
5 cardamom pods
2tbsp plain yoghurt
To serve: rice


To serve: rice

Preheat the oven to 140C

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Put the flat side of your knife over the cardamom pods and push down, until they squash a bit flat and open. Put the cardamom in the oil so the flavour infuses. Add the meat and brown all over. Tip the cardamom pods and browned lamb into a bowl and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and move it to a lower heat. Cook the onions until they start to turn translucent – 5-7minutes should do it. Add another splash of oil if the pan is looking dry and then add the ginger, green chillies, Kashmiri chilli and the Cayenne pepper.

Stir in the yoghurt, return the lamb and its juices to the pan and allow it to reach a simmer. Pour over the vegetable stock (and add an additional pinch of salt if not already salted), and let it reach a simmer again. Put the lid on the pan and put it in the oven (140C) for 1.5-2.5 hours, until the meat is tender.

Before serving, stir 1tsp of Ground Coriander through the curry. Cut open the additional 5 cardamom pods and use the tip of a knife to flick out the seeds then grind them with salt in a pestle and mortar.  To serve, divide the cardamom lamb curry between four bowls, then spoon some yoghurt on top and sprinkle over some of the cardamom-salt and a pinch more ground coriander.

spices used

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