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Lamb Madras Curry with Video

This fiery but fragrant Lamb Madras curry recipe is inspired by one of the most popular dishes on the British Indian Curry House menu!

My version features a rich and thick heavily spiced sauce and it is a real crowd pleaser!

Portrait image of lamb madras curry served with white rice and chapatis served on a black plate

My Favourite Lamb Curry.

I love this lamb curry recipe, it is a real treat as lamb is a relative rarity in these parts. It joins my Lamb Rogan Josh and Keema Matar recipes in the lamb curry category!

This one has lots of big flavours but still ensures that the lamb still sings through as the foundation flavour.

The name “Madras Curry” is not really used in Indian food apparently.

It is a name that came from “Bangladeshi Indian” restaurants in the UK in the 1970’s.

It is typified by a fiery heat, I use dried chilli (cayenne) and lots of black pepper.

I temper this heat and add a mellow background foundation with coconut milk rather than the typical yoghurt.

Using coconut milk adds a little sweetness to this lamb madras. Although you must ensure that you do not add “sweetened” coconut milk.

Square overhead image of lamb madras curry served with white rice and chapatis served on a black plate

How Hot Is a Madras Curry?

Individual tolerance to spice from chilli is so personal so this is a difficult question to answer.

We can, however, look at it in terms of comparison to other curry recipes.

A madras curry would be considered a curry at the hotter end of the spectrum.

On the spice scale, this lamb madras sits between my jalfrezi curry and my vindaloo curry. So definitely at the upper end of the heat.

It also relies on black pepper as well as chilli.

This adds a different vibe and flavour to the heat, a heat that I also use in my chicken Chettinad curry and mulligatawny soup.

Square image of lamb madras curry served with white rice and chapatis served on a black plate

Cooking With Whole Spices!

If you are a relative newcomer to cooking with whole spices you may wonder “why bother”?

Surely some ground spices would work or even a madras curry spice blend.

Well yes, they would work… However, they will never give you a flavour profile quite like whole spices.

Once you grind spices the begin to lose their flavour much quicker than whole seeds.

They also deteriorate at a different rate, so that spice blend that may have left the factory with a good mix will change over time.

Landscape overhead image of lamb madras curry served with white rice and chapatis served on a black plate

Serving Suggestions.

A good curry needs a side helping of Indian flatbread as far as I am concerned and this lamb madras curry is no different!

That thick and unctuous sauce in this recipe means screams for chapati or roti as far as I am concerned.

But if you wanted something different, the big bold flavours are also great with my Bombay potatoes recipe.

I mention the spiciness of this recipe above and if you wanted something to counter that then naan bread is a better option.

On that note, you could also add some mint raita on the side or serve it with a cooling lassi!

One final word, if you can score some mutton then please use it. It is even better in this recipe than lamb, prepare to have your mind blown!

Just cook it on low for a couple of hours, rather than one hour to tenderise.

A Madras Curry in a British Indian Curry House has become synonymous with a fiercely hot curry and not much else. Not my version which packs many more complex flavours but still keeps a punch of heat from chili and pepper.
Yield: 2 Servings

Lamb Madras Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

My Lamb Madras curry is an ode to the Bangladeshi British Indian restaurants of the 1980's... Featuring a spicy sauce made from freshly toasted spices and using coconut milk rather than yoghurt to temper the spicy burn!


  • 400 g (14 oz) Diced Lamb Shoulder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/4 Tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 Dried Red Chili Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 100 g (2/3 Cup) Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 165 ml (2/3 Cup) Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp Garam Masala


  1. Cut the onion into a medium dice and crush the garlic into a paste.
  2. Grate the ginger.
  3. Heat a heavy-based dry pan that has a lid over a medium high heat.
  4. Add the coriander seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, and dried chili, then toast until they become fragrant.
  5. When the spices are toasted crush them into a fine powder in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar.
  6. Add the oil to the pan.
  7. When hot cook the onion until they begin to colour which should take 5-6 minutes.
  8. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute.
  9. Now add in the lamb and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  10. Stir in the tomato puree, coconut milk, ground spices from step 5, and salt.
  11. Cover and allow to cook for 1 hour over a very low heat.
  12. After 1 hour remove the lid and reduce the remaining liquid to form a thick sauce.
  13. Remove from the heat and stir in the garam masala and allow to sit for 2 minutes before serving.


Serve with boiled rice and chapati and maybe a beer if you want the full British curry house experience.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 604Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 747mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 44g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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