Indian-spiced lamb and chickpea curry

Buttermilk and yogurt thicken and add a rich finish to this Indian-style curry, yet also counteract the heaviness of the lamb. Look for properly cultured buttermilk without additives or thickeners for the best flavour. This curry also works well with large cuts of chicken on the bone. Begin the recipe a day ahead to soak the chickpeas and marinate the lamb.

Prep 0 h : 0 m
Cook 2 h : 45 m


  • 1.2 kg boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat

    200g yogurt

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    20g ginger, finely chopped

    1 tbsp neutral oil

    1 onion, finely chopped

    1 tbsp coriander seeds

    2 tsp cumin seeds

    2 tsp garam masala

    2 tsp (heaped) ground chilli

    1 tsp ground turmeric

    6 cardamom pods, bruised

    4 cloves

    1 cinnamon quill

    3 fresh curry leaf sprigs, plus 1 extra sprig fried in oil to serve

    600ml buttermilk

    500 ml chicken stock

    130g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water, drained

    1 small bunch of kale or silverbeet, leaves torn

    ΒΌ cup coarsely chopped coriander

    Warmed roti, lime cheeks, and yogurt mixed with cucumber and finely chopped mint (optional), to serve


  • Combine lamb, yogurt, garlic and ginger in a nonreactive container, season to taste with salt and a good grind of black pepper, mix well and refrigerate overnight to marinate.

    Heat oil in a large casserole or wok over medium heat.

    Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 10-15 mins.

    Meanwhile, pound coriander and cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle until finely ground.

    Add to casserole with remaining spices, stir until fragrant, 1-2 mins, then add lamb, stirring and turning to coat, 1-2 mins.

    Add curry leaves, buttermilk and stock, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 2 hours.

    Add chickpeas and cook, uncovered, until softened and lamb is very tender, 30-40 mins.

    Transfer lamb to a bowl and strain sauce through a sieve, reserving solids.

    Return sauce to casserole, place over high heat and cook, skimming occasionally, until reduced by twothirds, 30 mins.

    Add kale and coriander and return lamb and reserved solids to casserole.

    Serve with curry leaves, roti and cucumber-mint yogurt.