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Veda Sankaran's Slow Cooked Oven Lamb Curry & Spiced Ghee Pulao

Veda Sankaran's Slow Cooked Oven Lamb Curry & Spiced Ghee Pulao

Dry roasting whole spices to make a masala is a time-honored method in Indian cuisine and one of the best ways to create fragrant unique flavors for your curries. This recipe mostly slow cooks in the oven; the lamb combined with the warm spicy masala simmers together with just the right amount of coconut milk, which results in fork tender lamb swimming in a delicious creamy curry.


For the curry:
2 lbs boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
2 tbsp sour cream or yogurt
2 tsp Spicewalla Kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp Spicewalla roasted coriander powder
½ tsp Spicewalla turmeric
1 tbsp water
2 Spicewalla whole cloves
3 Spicewalla whole green cardamom pods
½” piece Spicewalla whole cinnamon stick
2 green chilies, split lengthwise (optional)
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
¼ cup diced tomato
1 ½ cups water
2 tsp jaggery powder or dark brown sugar
1 cup coconut milk

For the masala:
15 curry leaves, patted dry with a paper towel*
2 tsp Spicewalla black peppercorn
2 tsp Spicewalla Indian coriander seeds
1 tsp Spicewalla fennel seeds
1” Spicewalla cinnamon stick
2 Spicewalla cloves
4 Spicewalla whole green cardamom pods

For the pulao:
1 ½ cups basmati rice
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp ghee
2 small or 1 large Spicewalla star anise
1 tsp Spicewalla cumin seeds
3 Spicewalla cloves
6 Spicewalla whole green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
½ tsp salt or to taste


For the curry:
1. Preheat oven to 325*F

2. Rinse and drain the cubed boneless leg of lamb a few times and set aside. Then, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream (or yogurt) with the Spicewalla Kashmiri chili powder, roasted coriander powder, turmeric, and water. Pour the mixture over the lamb, stir to evenly coat, and let marinate while you move on to the next step.

3. Heat a large oven proof pot, such as a dutch oven, on top of the stove. Pour in 2 tbsp oil and once heated, add the whole spices - Spicewalla cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. After a few seconds, when the spices become fragrant, add the green chilies (if using) and the 2 cups finely chopped onion and salt. Sauté until the onions become translucent. Place in the crushed garlic and ginger along with the diced tomato and sauté for 1 minute. Next, sprinkle in the ground masala, stir, and cook for another minute before adding in the marinated lamb.

4. Stir everything together and cook for 2 minutes. Then pour in 1 ½ cups of water, bring it to a soft boil, and turn off the heat. Cover the pot, and transfer it to the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour. After the hour is done, open the oven to uncover the pot and add the jaggery powder or dark brown sugar and the coconut milk. Stir, cover the pot, and place back in the oven for an additional hour. Remove from the oven and taste the curry, adding more salt and sugar if necessary.

For the masala:
1. Heat a small skillet and dry roast the curry leaves until they're dry and begin to curl, about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Next, add the Spicewalla peppercorn, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom pods to the pan. Dry roast for a few minutes or until spices become fragrant. Place on a plate to cool completely.
3. Once cool, use a spice or coffee grinder to powder the spices. Set aside to use later.

For the pulao:
1. Begin by washing and rinsing the rice at least 3 times or until the water runs relatively clear. Then, pour in enough water to generously cover the rice and let soak for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to make the pulao, drain the soaked rice and have it ready to add before beginning to toast the spices.

2. Heat a flat bottomed saucepan or deep skillet and add the oil and ghee. Once it is warm, place in the whole spices and lightly toast. Within a few seconds, add the drained rice, Stir and cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the rice begins to dry out and
becomes toasty.

3. At this stage, pour in 2 ¼ cups water and sprinkle in the salt, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, lower the heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Gently fluff the rice and drizzle on a little more ghee immediately before serving.


  • Thanks for reaching out, Nancy! The oven temperature for the curry should be 325*F for about 2 hours. Also, for a slow cooker adaptation we’d say to cook it on low for 6 hours, then taste, then cook for up to additional 2 hours if needed for tenderness. Hope this helps; let us know how yours turns out!

    Spicewalla Fam on
  • Thanks for reaching out! You’ll want to dry roast the curry leaves in a small pan until they’re dry and curled up, then let them cool. Then dry roast the remaining spices for the masala until they become fragrant. Then you’ll take the curry leaves and add them to the other spices and grind them together. We hope this helps, and we can’t wait to hear how it turns out for ya!

    Spicewalla Fam on
  • Do you grind up the curry leaves in the masala along with the spices? The picture would seem to indicate “no,” but the directions aren’t clear about them. Thanks!

    Susan on
  • What is the oven temperature setting for Veda Sankaran’s slow cooked oven lamb curry & spiced ghee pulao?

    I would also like to make this dish on low in a slow cooker. Any recommendations as to timing?

    Nancy Byer on

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