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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!

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.

Lamb Madras Recipe
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 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 Onion
  • 20 g Ginger
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 150 ml 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.
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Ashley Carr

Friday 20th of March 2020

Couldn't find the video on this page. Is it elsewhere?

Brian Jones

Friday 20th of March 2020

Hey Ashley, I can see it, it appears right below the first paragraph afer the first image, if you are on a computer it will pop out to the bottom right hand side as you scroll if you are on mobile it will be top right.


Wednesday 25th of September 2019

Thanks for this recipe Brian. The simple steps in the video and the look of the end result really made me want to try it...and I don’t normally have anything hotter than a tikka masala!

I’ve made this recipe pretty much exactly how you described, apart from substituting the dried chilli for crushed chilli as I couldn’t find it. It was amazing with boiled rice and roti. I’m going to try your Chettinad chicken next!

Brian Jones

Thursday 26th of September 2019

Glad you enjoyed it Craig... The Chettinad chicken recipe is one of my favourite curries, although I think it is hotter than this Madras, primarily because it uses lots of black pepper which is a very different heat to chilli but everyone perceives spice heat very differently. You can always eat more naan or roti to cool down. Enjoy :D


Tuesday 16th of July 2019

I must say you are a great cook Brian. This looks incredibly tempting. Being an Indian I must say you have nailed the Indian style of cooking, that color, the texture of the curry and everything about the dish just looks perfect :) It's not easy to achieve!! Loved going through your blog :)

Brian Jones

Tuesday 16th of July 2019

Thanks Meghna, I'm not sure I am a great cook but I work hard ;) I only cooked this madras yesterday for a video shoot that should be floating around in the next couple of days.

Lynne Barrett-Lee

Saturday 16th of February 2019

Wow this was soooooo delicious. Hot, yes, but that might e because I threw in an extra chilli or two. Best curry I’ve made in a long time. Thank you! Am going to try your other recipes without delay....

Brian Jones

Saturday 16th of February 2019

Thanks Lynne... Glad you like it, if you want a recommendation take a look at my chicken pathia recipe, it is my favourite :D

Khilna Samat

Monday 30th of July 2018


I was apprehensive over this dish at first because the spices can be overwhelming and not for the faint hearted. Needless to say, I doubled everything because I was feeding two men (American). They loved it and went for seconds; perspiring ofclurse. I (indian), on the other hand, was not even half way done with my first- I was the faint hearted one... BUT I can’t tell you enough how delicious this was. I want to make it again and I can’t wait to make Rogan Josh. Thank you for this brilliant, yet simple recipe.

Brian Jones

Tuesday 31st of July 2018

Thanks for taking the time to write to me Khilna, I love hearing from people that have tried my recipes and I am so glad you loved it. This is one of my most popular recipes and indeed one of my personal favourites. Have fun with the Rogan Josh :)