How to Make South Indian Lamb Curry

by Malcolm Zachariah

A quick curry made by mom and me which is more like a fusion of "east meets weast" haha!


  • 1 rack of lamb chops (cut separately)
  • 3 Inches ginger root (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 1 Teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns (only the hulls)
  • 2 star anise seed
  • 1 Inch Stick cinnamon
  • 2 Cardamom pods (only the seeds inside)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons meat masala powder (Eastern brand is good
  • ½ Teaspoons Black mustard seeds
  • 3 basil leaves (fresh or less for dry)
  • 10 curry leaves (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 3 small Thai bird chili peppers (cut lengthwise)
  • 1 small to medium onion (sliced)
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Salt to taste (maybe 1/2 tsp)
  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable oil (olive can be used)
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Grind the whole spices (all except for masala) in the mortar and pestle. Don't hit stone onto stone. This pic shows partial grinding. You want a real powder.

    Step 2

    Toast the dry spices on a dry pan with medium heat until the aroma is noticeable (don't let it smoke!). Then set aside.

    Step 3

    This is one leaf of a curry tree (not the same thing as a curry plant used in the West). The "leaves" you see are more like leaflets. Drying is much less potent. Pull the leaflets from the stem.

    Step 4

    Peel the ginger and the garlic

    Step 5

    Slice the garlic and ginger

    Step 6

    Save some curry leaves for frying

    Step 7

    Crush the curry leaves, basil, garlic, and ginger into a paste. Use water to rinse residue.

    Step 8

    Slice the onion

    Step 9

    Mix the herbal paste and ground spices with the meat to marinate in a mixing bowl. My mom likes to wash all meat, but it's not mandatory.

    Step 10

    Add the salt (here using the mixing spoon to limit the number of utensils touching the raw meat)

    Step 11

    In a medium saucepan, stir fry the onions and peppers with half the vegetable oil

    Step 12

    Add the masala after a minute or so of sautéing, and cook until onions are browned and translucent.

    Step 13

    Transfer everything from the sauce pan to the mixing bowl for further marination. Mix well.

    Step 14

    (There's a missing step of adding the remaining oil briefly fry the mustard seeds in the pan - use a splatter guard, not a lid because a lid will condense steam and splatter) Add everything back

    Step 15

    The lamb should be first cooked on high to brown the meat briefly and reduce the liquid. Then, add one cup of water, mix, and cover with a lid to cook on low for an hour or more (until meat is tender)

    Step 16

    Voilà! Goes well with any flatbread (chapati, naan, pita, tortilla) or rice. :3