Lamb Bhuna with a napkin and cinnamon

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Beautifully tender lamb, slowly simmered in a sauce of tomato, red pepper, green chilli and spices. Bring this takeaway classic into your kitchen – it’s a lot easier than it looks! Enjoy this lamb bhuna as a curry on its own or as part of a sharable Indian banquet along with a selection of dishes (this slow cooker chicken korma and this chicken rogan josh are great options!)

What is it?

Bhuna originates from the Bengal region of India. The name translates to ‘be fried’ from its original Urdu origins, which is descriptive of the cooking method of frying spices before adding meat (although for this recipe I cook the lamb and the whole spices together first).

It’s not a ‘saucy’ curry and is typically served with a thick gravy that clings to the meat, rather than with juices that the meat is swimming in.

You can easily adjust this lamb bhuna recipe to your preferences. Add more stock if you want more sauce. And it’s easy to reduce it down to a drier consistency by bringing the curry to a rapid boil at the end of the cooking time until you get the desired result.

What kind of lamb should I use?

Any type of lamb that is suited to slow cooking works for this recipe. The best option is lamb shoulder, but leg works well, as does neck, chump or breast meat.

If the meat is not fully tender after the cooking time then you can continue cooking it for a little longer. If you are using one of the above cuts then it’s very hard to overdo it!

What can I serve it with?

As with most curries, some form of bread or rice is essential. Try this saffron basmati rice as an alternative to plain rice, and add some naan bread or chapati to the table too.

Although typically served with spicy curries, this cucumber and mint raita is a great accompaniment and adds an extra creamy texture to the fairly dry bhuna.

If you are looking for another great side dish or starter then look no further than this chicken pakora, which is absolutely packed with flavour.

Lamb Bhuna in bowls with rice

Is it spicy?

Bhuna is a medium to hot curry. It’s traditionally served hot enough to tingle, but not so much that you will be sweating away and reaching for mouthfuls of water (or lassi… or kingfisher). However, the great thing about cooking at home is that you are in complete control over how much spice you want to add.

The recipe includes 2 green chillies. Depending on the type and strength of chilli you use, this will result in a medium-hot curry. You can reduce this or increase it based on your preference. Don’t be fooled into thinking that green chillies are milder than red chillies either – they are a little more bitter in taste, but can still pack a punch.

Ingredients

For a full list of ingredients for this lamb bhuna, with measurements and weights, jump to the printable recipe card.

  • Diced lamb (see above for recommended cuts)
  • Large tomatoes, diced
  • Garlic cloves
  • Ginger paste
  • Red pepper/capsicum, deseeded and diced

Whole spices

  • Cumin seeds
  • Cinnamon stick

Ground spices

  • Coriander powder
  • Turmeric powder

How to make it

For more detailed instructions and recipe tips, jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe Steps
  1. In a large saucepan sear the lamb until browned all over. Add the whole spices and stir together. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened and lightly golden. Tip in the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute then add the ground spices and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomatoes, pepper and stock and return the lamb to the pan. Season well and cover and cook on a low simmer for 90 minutes.
  4. If the curry is too saucy at the end of the cooking time then bring to a rapid simmer until reduced.

Looking for more great curry recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

Steel Herb Chopper

A testament to masterful blacksmithing, this steel blade brings handsome, hand forged style to your prep.

Herb Keepers

It’ll keep what’s left of your bunch perky for longer – perfect for the fridge door!

Indian Karahi Curry Bowls

Beautiful Indian Karahi bowls – similar to the ones in this picture 🙂

Print
Lamb Bhuna with a napkin and cinnamon

Lamb Bhuna


  • Author: caroline
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 110 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Lamb Bhuna: Beautifully tender lamb slowly simmered in a sauce of tomato, red pepper, green chilli & spices. Bring this takeaway classic into your kitchen! 

The default recipe serves 4.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g / 1.1lb diced lamb
  • 2 large red onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 large tomatoes (around 200g / 7oz each), diced
  • 2 large red bell peppers/capsicums, deseeded and diced into large pieces
  • 2 green chillis
  • 60ml / 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • few sprigs of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Whole spices:

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small cinnamon stick

Ground Spices:

  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and brown all over (around 5 minutes). Tip the dried spices in and stir around the pan for a further minute until fragrant. Use a slotted spoon to remove the lamb from the pan and set aside. 
  2. Add the onion to the pan and cook for around 6-8 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further minute. Add the ground spices and cook for a further minute or so until aromatic. 
  3. Add the tomatoes, pepper and stock to the pan and tip the lamb back in. Season well. Cover the pan and cook for 90 minutes until the lamb is super tender.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving and garnish with chopped coriander. 

Notes

  1. You can swap the chillis for 1-2 tsp of chilli powder.
  2. 2 chillis will give a medium level of spice. Increase or decrease depending on preferences. 
  3. Opt for lamb shoulder, leg, neck or chuck, which will turn meltingly tender when slow-cooked for this recipe
  4. If there is too much liquid left at the end of cooking then bring the pan to a rapid boil to reduce until you have the amount of sauce you want (typically bhuna is not a very ‘saucy’ curry).
  5. You can swap the whole tomatoes for tinned chopped tomatoes, but you may need a little more stock depending on the water content of the brand you use. 
  • Category: Curry
  • Method: Hob / Stove
  • Cuisine: Curry

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 340
  • Fat: 19g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Protein: 28g

Keywords: curry, dinner, lamb, tender, medium spice, Indian, chilli

2 Thoughts on “Lamb Bhuna”

  • This recipe looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to make this recipe a.s.a.p. especially never tried Bengali food. You have recipes that look and taste delicious. I am happy that I’m stumbled upon your page. Thank you.
    Also, I have realised you live in an Arabic country. Once, I had Libyan pasta with chunks of beef. It was sooo tasty. I wonder if you would know that recipe. There were I think Arabic spices in it. I could taste cinnamon taste and fragrant coming out. I think Greeks use cinnamon on their savory as well because I remember a Greek grocer telling me to put lots of cinnamon into my stews 😊

    • Thanks so much! It’s a really delicious curry so I highly recommend it!

      I’m not familiar with the dish you’ve mentioned, but I will do some research and find out what it is as it sounds amazing!

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