Indian lamb with spiced lentils

    2 hours

    Freshly ground spices make this dhansak-style curry fabulously fragrant, while green lentils give texture and substance. Serve with chapattis and yogurt, and saffron rice sprinkled with chopped, toasted cashews.

    58 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 6 black peppercorns
    • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
    • seeds from 8 cardamom pods
    • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 1 large onion, sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 5 cm (2 in) piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
    • 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 450 g (1 lb) lean boneless leg of lamb or neck fillet, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
    • 600 ml (1 pint) hot lamb stock, preferably home-made
    • 225 g (8 oz) green lentils
    • 4 plum tomatoes, quartered
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr30min  ›  Ready in:2hr 

    1. Crush the peppercorns with the cumin and cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar or an electric grinder. Set aside.
    2. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for a further 3 minutes, then add the crushed spices and the cinnamon stick and turmeric. Fry gently for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
    3. Add the lamb and stir to coat with the spices. Fry gently for about 4 minutes or until the meat is browned all over. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring well, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 1 hour or until the lamb is almost cooked and tender.
    4. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the lentils, then place them in a saucepan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil. Boil uncovered for 15 minutes. Drain.
    5. Add the lentils and tomatoes to the curry and cook for 15–20 minutes or until the lamb and lentils are tender. Stir in the lemon juice and fresh coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

    Some more ideas

    If it's more convenient, you can cook the curry in the oven. In step 3, after bringing to the boil, cover the casserole and place it in a preheated 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) oven. Cook for 1 1/4 hours. Add the lentils and tomatoes and cook for a further 20 minutes or until tender. * Ethnic grocers and health food shops sell a wide range of lentils. Any of them can be used, but check first whether they are best soaked before cooking, because you may need to plan ahead. Red split lentils (masoor dhal) and split peas are a good choice because they do not need soaking. * If you've no fresh tomatoes, use 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 225 g, with the juice.

    Plus points

    Lentils are an excellent source of dietary fibre and a good source of iron, as well as a useful source of vitamins B1 and B6. In addition, an average portion normally provides almost 100% of the adult RNI for selenium (this can vary according to the soil in which the plant is grown).

    Each serving provides

    B1, B6, B12, E, niacin, iron, selenium, zinc * B2, potassium * A, calcium

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    Reviews in English (9)


    yum. We all enjoyed and the kids loved it. While I have no issue giving lentils to the kids, it did help that they assumed at first it was mince! Once they discovered they had already professed their love for the dish so it was too late to complain about being given lentils! I used a tin of plum tomatoes, and next time will use two. I added frozen peas towards the end up up the '5 a day' value, and that worked well. Next time I will ensure the chilli I use is a decent one, not a bland tesco one, and remove the kids portions before prolong ours up with more chili, coriander and cumin. Many thanks, will def return!  -  23 Jan 2011


    Used different ingredients. I used minced lamb! We really enjoyed it and make it regularly.  -  13 Jan 2011


    This is a fabulous recipe! Cooked it a couple of weeks ago (I used red lentils instead of green) and it went down a treat with all. I've now had a couple of requests for the recipe.  -  12 Apr 2009