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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, lamb pasanda 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!


Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Are you living in the UK again or just a holiday/visit? Can´t believe you couldn´t find lamb, I bet I bought it all, I´m not that far from Bury and lamb is kind of my favorite :D sorry

Brian Jones

Thursday 24th of March 2022

The Uk is home for us for the foreseeable future, we're currently based in the North East but exploring options for a move sometime later this year.

I could find plenty of lamb, just not the cut that I wanted. Lamb neck fillet is awesome for a really slow cooked curry ;)


Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Hi Brian, hope you´re well, I´m extremely excited to make this tomorrow, I love a nice curry and the heat doesn´t scare me, hope I can find the dried chillies, black pepper, not a problem I am the black pepper queen, I put it on everything, but I just have one question for you before I head over to the shops tomorrow, can I use any cut of cubed lamb for this or does it have to be shoulder? Regards Rakel.


Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

@Brian Jones, Excellent, thank you for a super quick reply, I´m in the UK so I can get lamb easily, it´s just that I´ve seen a bag of lamb cuts in Iceland (the shop) but it doesn´t say what cut of the lamb it is, it does look a bit fatty though so I might risk it, I´m even thinking of doubling this recepi as my other half has a,.. erm.. how do I say this politely?.. Healthy appetite :)

Brian Jones

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Hi Rakel... I hope you like this as much as we do :)

The lamb needs a bit of fat which makes shoulder idea, but you could get away with rump or even some lamb neck fillet.

Irene A

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Hello. I’m cooking your lamb madras for dinner, looks amazing and looks tasty. I have one question, does lamb shoulder steak and lamb shoulder the same? I’m not a very good cook, Its hard to find lamb where I leave. Thanks

Brian Jones

Monday 4th of January 2021

Hi Irene... I've never heard of lamb shoulder steak, which is not really a surprise as so many nations have different ways of naming cuts of meat. It should be fine, I think my only concern is that it would be cut too thinly to get a nice 2cm or so dice out of it. If you can you should be fine.


Tuesday 10th of November 2020

Hi Brian,

Your recipe looks amazing! Overhere (in the Nederlands) it's really hard to find lamb meat. Is there anything I can substitute it with? Like chicken for example?


Sunday 14th of February 2021

@Brian Jones, Hi Brian I use this recipe and your Jalfrezi recipe on my food truck. I use both lamb and chicken in the madras and both taste excellent, never had one complaint.

Brian Jones

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Hi Larissa.

I feel your pain, lamb here in Hungary is a real struggle to find too, I have to make a 350km round trip to get some most of the time. Have I mentioned I like lamb ;)

You could throw in chicken but for me, it disappears in the flavours of this big sauce and becomes little more than a texture and source of protein rather than an ingredient that holds its own.

Some stewing beef would work really well, something like shin or neck, I like to really punch the flavour of fenugreek when cooking Indian recipes with beef so I would personally add a tablespoon (give or take) of additional dried fenugreek leaves to this recipe if I were to make it with beef. It may also need an extra 20-30 minutes of cooking with the lid on.



Taryn g

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Would I be able to make it in that crockpot?

Brian Jones

Thursday 30th of April 2020

Hey Taryn... You can although you will not really get any great time savings, I have tried to turn this into a dump and run slow cooker recipe and failed, you can drop the curry into the slow cooker for 4-5 hours on low at stage 11 but you still need to reduce to intensify the flavours at the end.

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