Indian Spiced Lamb Shanks

by Anne Maxfield on March 16, 2017

The Accidental Locavore came across these Indian lamb shanks searching for something else on the Internet.

Has that ever happened to you?

They looked like a nice switch from my usual way of doing lamb shanks and I had some nice ones from a local farm. Serves 2 or more depending on the size of your shanks. The lamb needs to marinate, so plan accordingly.

Indian Spiced Lamb Shanks

For the lamb:

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1” ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • Salt

Spices for lamb shanksFor the sauce:

  • 2” piece of cinnamon
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 2 green chilies (serrano or jalapeno) slit lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • A small can of tomato sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 sprigs of fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnish

Blend garlic, ginger, curry and ground coriander with a bit of water into a paste.

Season the lamb shanks with salt and cover with the spice paste. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

Bring the lamb to room temperature.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and ghee on medium heat.

Coarsely crush the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns and add to the oil. Allow to sizzle on low heat for a few seconds before adding the sliced onions.
Sauté the onion till light brown and then add the slit chilies. Stir and continue to sauté till the onions turn dark brown.

Onions for lamb shanksAdd all the spices and the tomato puree. Sauté for another 2 minutes taking care that the spice mixture does not stick to the bottom.
Add the lamb shanks and the marinade to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes turning occasionally, Take care that the spice mixture does not burn.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the yogurt a little at a time to make a thick sauce.

Place the pan back on the heat and add 2 cups of water. Season with salt, mix well and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid, add the grated nutmeg, stir and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes until the meat becomes really tender. The sauce will also thicken and develop a deep rich color.

Stir in the lemon juice, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

My verdict: This was really good! We served it with basmati rice to soak up the sauce. The only issue we both had with it was that you kept biting down on bits of cinnamon, etc. which wasn’t terribly pleasant. Next time, I think I’ll make a little bundle with cheesecloth that I can remove at the end.

If you don’t have ghee floating around your kitchen, microwave some butter until it’s all melted, skim off the white stuff on the top and what’s left is clarified butter.

I just used one large jalapeno and it was a little spicy but probably could have been spicier.

There was lots of sauce left because our shanks were a little small, so I got some lamb for stew, browned it well, added it to the leftover sauce and it made dinner for another night later in the week. If you’re not a fan of lamb shanks (congrats for reading this far), a couple of pounds of lamb or beef stew meat would work well.

 

 

 

 

 

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