Craving lamb curry? Make this recipe on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or in the pressure cooker. Whatever you choose, slow cooking is the key to tender lamb in this dish. Make a pot of rice and dinner is served.
This lamb curry is made by slow cooking lamb shanks and chunks of lamb shoulder in a flavorful curry base with chopped apple, potatoes, onions, garlic, lemon, and raisins until it is fall apart tender.
It’s so good! The apples, onions, and raisins give the lamb curry some sweetness, while a couple slices of lemon add some acidity and bitter to balance the flavors of the dish.
I first encountered this lamb curry at my friend Elizabeth Abbott’s parent’s house and begged her mother Maria for the recipe, which, thankfully, she gave me. I’ve played around with it over the years, upped the spices, added raisins, cooked it on the stovetop, cooked it in an Instant Pot. It all works.
The Secret to Great Lamb Curry
The key is slow cooking the tougher cuts of lamb. Both the shanks and the shoulders of a young lamb get plenty of exercise, which makes the meat much more flavorful than, say, a delicate lamb chop. But this activity also makes the meat tough, and so you need to cook it for a longer amount of time to soften the connective tissue and make it tender.
Those 1-hour lamb stews? Chewy. You need at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours to get the meat so tender that it is falling off the bone. Want to speed up the process? You can cut the time in half if you use a pressure cooker.
Lamb Curry in The Instant Pot
You can easily make this lamb curry in a stovetop pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Brown the lamb and onions as directed on the stovetop or using the sear function of the Instant Pot. Cook the curry for 50 minutes on high pressure. Then release the pressure, add the potatoes, and cook for another 10 minutes at high pressure.
Lamb Curry in a Slow Cooker
To make in a slow cooker, brown the lamb and onions as directed on the stovetop, then put all of the ingredients into a slow cooker. Slow cook for 6 hours on low, then add the potatoes and cook on high for 45 minutes more before serving.
Bone-in or Boneless Lamb?
I typically use bone-in lamb shanks, shoulder, and stew meat for lamb curry because of the additional flavor and marrow goodness you can get from the bones. By the end of cooking the meat just falls off the bones making it really easy to pick out the bones before serving.
That said, use boneless if that is what you like and you don’t want to deal with bones. Just make sure you are using meat from the more flavorful cuts like a lamb shoulder or shank.
Tip for Cooking Rice
This curry is great served over rice. For extra-flavorful rice, try this tip: If you are using ghee or butter to brown the lamb, add a couple tablespoons to the rice with the water when you prepare it.
For example, put a cup of basmati rice, 2 Tbsp of butter or ghee, 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit for 10 minutes and fluff with a fork.
How to Store and Freeze Leftovers
This curry will keep in the fridge for at least five days, and like many stews, the flavors continue to improve with time.
This recipe also freezes quite well, though the potatoes might be a little on the soft side once thawed. Freeze for up to three months, thaw in the fridge overnight, and reheat over low heat on the stovetop to serve.