Lamb Madras | Hari Ghotra
3.9/5 rating (53 votes)

Lamb Madras

Hot and Fiery Lamb

  • Heat Hot
  • Serves 4
  • Dietary Info LACTOSE-FREE
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Cook 1 hr
                             

A classic hot and tangy south Indian dish of toasted spices in a deep rich sauce.

Hari says

Early restaurateurs had no way of communicating the scale of heat in a dish so an arbitrary scale was created - a korma is mild, a phall is crazy hot and so on. Now the standard restaurant dishes all fit somewhere on that gradient.

However, one sauce was created by restaurateurs in the UK that was hot, fiery and tangy - and they called it Madras. Madras is a city in India now called Chennai – it's a hot, dry region in India so this was a great way to imply the level of heat in this dish. History lesson over!

If you want to get to grips with your spices this is a lovely dish to put together as you have to create your own Madras spice blend. A beautifully fragrant recipe for when you're ready for a little more of a challenge.

To get the main ingredients for my Madras, buy my curry kit here.

Top Tip:

If you haven’t got the time to make this in the evening, then you can slow cook it so it’s ready when you get in.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 400-600g leg of lamb, trimmed and chopped

Madras Powder

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp white poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cassia bark stick (about 7cm long)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

Masala Sauce

  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10-12 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (2 for more heat)
  • 2 cm ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g / 1 tin plum tomatoes
  • 2 tsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • Handful fresh coriander
  1. To create your madras powder combine black peppercorns, cassia, cloves, coriander, fenugreek, mustard, poppy, cumin and fennel seeds, and grind to a fine powder with an electric grinder, blender, or pestle and mortar.
  2. Stir in the turmeric and chilli powder.
  3. Place the lamb in a large bowl and rub with 2 or 3 tablespoons of madras curry powder and the salt until all the meat is coated. Transfer the remaining powder into a well-sealed jar for another time.
  4. Heat the oil in a large cast iron pan until hot. Add the mustard seeds – once they start to pop, stir in the curry leaves and then the onions.
  5. Soften the onions until they turn dark brown (about 20 minutes) before adding the green chilli and ginger along with the finely chopped garlic.
  6. Keep stirring as the mix has a tendency to catch on the bottom of the pan. If it does catch add a splash of water.
  7. After a few minutes, add the tomatoes, tamarind and red chilli. Bring this to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer to create a thick masala sauce.
  8. Once it is shiny and thick add the lamb to the pan. Stir to coat the meat with the sauce. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and leave to cook very gently for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until it's cooked through.
  9. Stir occasionally until the sauce has thickened and the lamb is tender.

Served with

The dark tangy sauce works great with plain basmati rice or roti, but I also like to have a veg dish like saag or some spiced potatoes on the side

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Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Calories376
Fat (g)17
of which saturates (g)6
Carbohydrates (g)19
of which sugars (g)4
Fibre (g)8
Protein (g)41
Salt (mg)631
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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Comments

Comments (51)

  • Jemma Way

    Jemma Way

    14 July 2016 at 10:57 |
    Hi Hari

    I am looking to cook this dish this weekend, a couple of questions, would it work as well with beef and what cut of lamb or beef would you suggest to slow cook? Also the cooking time in a slow cooker, 6 hours?

    Thanks Jemma

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      18 July 2016 at 15:46 |
      Hi Jemma - sorry yes 6 hours or longer for slow cooking. Thanks

      reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      18 July 2016 at 15:46 |
      Hi Jemma im so sorry I am away at the moment and didn't get round to responding in time I do hope you managed to cook this dish ok. In answer to your questions yes it works beautifully with beef. You could try this with lamb neck fillet, shoulder (well trimmed) Beef shank, brisket would be good - cheap cuts are good for low and slow cooking. Hope this helps - Let me know how you got on. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Monty

    Monty

    25 April 2016 at 16:30 |
    Dear Hari,
    I hope it's not against tradition to mix recipes. I have taken your lamb shank recipe and crossed it with the madras and rogan josh recipes, for a slow cooked (3+hours), fiery curry. It's in the oven now, I'll stir in some yoghurt to balance the heat around 30 mins before removing from the oven. It smells great and the sauce looks thick and hearty, so here's hoping. Thank you so much for the ideas and inspiration.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      27 April 2016 at 07:24 |
      Hi Monty There are no rights and wrongs when you are inspired in the kitchen. Hope it came out tasty! Thanks for sharing Hari

      reply

  • Richard

    Richard

    18 April 2016 at 10:24 |
    Hi Hari - additionally, the Menu ingredients says 2 tbsp turmeric
    This also seems rather a lot and wondered if it should be 2 Teaspoons and not 2 Tablespoons
    Thanks
    Richard

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      19 April 2016 at 07:52 |
      Hi Richard this will make more than you need for one dish so you can store what you don't use for next time. If you only want to make it for one hit then half the ingredients but I find it's difficult to grind down a small amount of spices like that. Hope this helps. Hari

      reply

  • Richard

    Richard

    18 April 2016 at 10:10 |
    For the Madras power the menu ingredients says "2 tbsp coriander seeds"
    Before I make a start on this, can I just check that it really is 2 Tablespoons and not 2 Teaspoons of coriander seeds?
    (It's just that 2 Tablespoons seems rather a lot)
    Thanks

    reply

  • mark harvey

    mark harvey

    16 April 2016 at 16:16 |
    I've been cooking curries for many many years, and I've only just found Hari and her web site whilst also looking for a lamb madras recipe like Bob.This recipe is an absolute belter and I really like the site as a whole too, it looks very fresh. I marinated the lamb overnight with a bit of jogurt too, and then at the end I transferred it to a slow cooker on low and it was terrific, great recipe.
    Mark

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      17 April 2016 at 08:48 |
      Hi Mark Fantastic - welcome to the Hari Ghotra website and thanks for trying the Madras recipe. I'm chuffed to pieces that you liked it and that you added a few personal twists too. Nothing better than slow cooked lamb with some wonderful warming spices. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment i'm looking forward to hearing what you will try next! Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Greg Upton

    Greg Upton

    30 March 2016 at 18:52 |
    You're probably my guessing I've been cooking many of your recipes over the past week lol.

    I'm a seasoned madras fiend but do prefer my curries hotter when eating out.

    I cooked this recipe to the letter and it went down very well with my 5 guests on Easter Monday. Everybody thought that the tamarind (I used high quality pulp I brought home from Sri Lanka recently) was too strong a flavour. As such I'll halve that ingredient next time but also leave the meat overnight in the marinade as I'm certain it will transform this dish. As it's lamb I'll be cooking it slowly in the oven next time too as I know it will put this on another planet taste wise.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      30 March 2016 at 19:26 |
      Hi Greg Tamarind varies so much from batch to batch and where you get it from. Next time taste it before you add it and if it's super strong like the Sri Lankan stuff you have then yes reduce it. Let me know how you go next time you try this one. Thanks for your comments Hari

      reply

  • Ray Boden

    Ray Boden

    19 March 2016 at 22:23 |
    Hi Hari, Aah ya gooin!, Tried the lamb madras tonight, must say if you like your curry, this is the one, followed your recipe to the word(not like me because i like to tinker with the recipe) but this was superb, better than the other recipes i have tried, and beleive me i have tried a few!, The brown onions really give good colour and sweetness, although when you first try it you think you might end up with burnt onion taste ( but that is not the case if you take your time) Tip: always have beer handy whilst waiting for the onions to brown,(approx 2 cans)
    Thanks again Hari, Luv your vlog and blog, Trying Pani puri next, onwards and upwards, Ta Raa a Bit From Wolvo.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      20 March 2016 at 08:37 |
      Hi Ray Now the beer tip is an essential - I don't know how I missed that out, thanks you for sharing it! Super glad to hear that you enjoyed the Madras too. I'm actually in Wolves at the moment visiting my mum so it's lovely to hear from you whilst I'm at home. Pani puri has lots of different bits to it so enjoy making them and make sure you put the whole thing in your mouth in one go. Enjoy

      reply

  • Nieve

    Nieve

    09 February 2016 at 19:31 |
    Thanks so much for the lovely recipe Hari, I made this and your Vegetable Pakora for a dinner party last weekend, and everything was delicious, so flavourful! Using your wee Madras spice kit came in so handy as well, it was great to have everything on hand in such a neat little package. You're my first port of call for Indian recipes :)

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      10 February 2016 at 15:20 |
      Hi Nieve Thanks so much for trying the recipes and the kit - really pleased that you are enjoying using the website and making tasty Indian food at home. Lovely to hear your comments, keep in touch and let me know what you try next time. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Richard James

    Richard James

    03 February 2016 at 10:26 |
    Hi Hari,
    This was a great success.
    As an experiment, I actually made 2 separate dishes, 1 Lamb (using tender diced lamb) and 1 Chicken (using diced chicken thigh meat)
    After lightly salting the meat, I then coated the diced meat with ground spice mixture, coating the chicken pieces a little lighter than I did with the lamb.
    I allowed them both to marinade in the fridge for about 3 hours too, which I think added depth to the flavour.
    This recipe tastes extremely authentic, and is highly recommended to anyone who hasn't tried this dish yet. Both were very tasty and had the perfect 'spice' strength.
    I have enough of the ground spice mixture left over to make a small portion for 2, so am looking forward to that a bit later in the week.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      03 February 2016 at 16:53 |
      Hi Richard - thank you so much for letting me know how you got on with this recipe. Im so happy to hear that you enjoyed it and found the recipe easy to cook. Thanks for getting in touch - I can't wait to hear what you try next time! Hari

      reply

  • Richard Robertson

    Richard Robertson

    26 January 2016 at 14:38 |
    Thank You, Great Recipe :)

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      26 January 2016 at 16:44 |
      Thanks Richard - glad you enjoyed it!!

      reply

  • Abbie

    Abbie

    09 December 2015 at 12:01 |
    Hi Hari, I made the lamb madras on Sunday and it was amazing. I did the marinade and sauce the day before and assembled it on the day, so no stress either!

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      09 December 2015 at 20:19 |
      Hey Abbie - Amazing so glad you gave it a go and loved it! Thanks for leaving a comment!

      reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    10 July 2015 at 16:59 |
    Hi Nigel - so pleased you enjoyed this one. Thanks again Hari

    reply

  • Nigel

    Nigel

    07 July 2015 at 10:09 |
    Another winner Hari. Lovely spicy taste, recommended to all who like curries on the hottish side.

    reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    05 July 2015 at 08:23 |
    Hi Danny Glad you enjoyed the vid. You certainly can toast the spices but it just means you have to use them all straight away. You can't really store them once they have been toasted and this makes slightly more then you will need so you can save the spice blend for next time. I have also just launched my curry kits and the Madras one is superb https://www.facebook.com/hari.ghotra/app_410312912374011 Do have a look - so pleased you are enjoying the site. Thanks Hari

    reply

  • Danny

    Danny

    04 July 2015 at 18:33 |
    I just watched the video to this recipe, and want to say thanks, you've answered so many questions I've had about how to really cook a curry! I do have one question left however. Quite a few sources mention lightly toasting the spices before popping them into the coffee grinder... is this good or bad? I will definitely be hanging around your blog and trying out your recipes, starting with this one :)

    reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    28 June 2015 at 07:46 |
    Hi Jon Yes you can use tamarind pulp. I say paste because I prefer to make up mine up from rehydrating blocks of tamarind but the paste is fine. You may have to taste it to see how strong it is because it can vary then you can add the right amount to your dish to get it as tangy as you like it. Let me know how you get one. Thanks Hari

    reply

  • Jon

    Jon

    28 June 2015 at 06:19 |
    Hi Hari. This dish looks great, but I have one question: is tamarind pulp and paste the same thing? Or should I keep looking?

    reply

  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    29 May 2015 at 12:36 |
    Hi Martin
    So glad you liked the dish - It's really rich and comforting isn't it? In terms of ghee yes it does have a distinctive taste and aroma. Its not something that would change the overall flavour but it adds a creamy texture and richness. In general I tend to use ghee for dishes that are creamy and where you need a bit of decadence - a biryani or dhal maybe. For this dish the richness comes from the meat and fat in the meat so in my opinion it's not really one that needs ghee. Hope this helps.

    reply

  • Martin Hey

    Martin Hey

    26 May 2015 at 19:31 |
    absolutely loved this dish which we tried for the first time yesterday. Full of flavour with a wonderful warmth, and have plenty of the madras rub left for next time. If using ghee rather than veg oil would it significantly alter the taste and if so, how?

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    16 March 2015 at 16:57 |
    There are different pasties you can use. My one is a traditional north Indian one and the thinner you roll them out the crispier they will be. I prefer this pastry but most people in the UK are used to filo pastry samosa's which are more like the ones from the Gujarat region. You can buy the skins from Indian shops or you can also use filo pasty and bake them if you prefer. This is what I do with my coconut and beetroot ones http://www.harighotra.co.uk/indian-recipes/starters/beetroot-coconut-samosa.

    reply

  • Gareth crawford

    Gareth crawford

    16 March 2015 at 16:50 |
    Actually, we made you samosa's as a starter and had them with a mint riata.

    They were a little fiddly at first to put together but after a few we gothic e hang of it.

    They were great all though not quite as crispy as we would have liked. Is that normal? I was thinking that maybe we didn't have the oil on a high enough temperature of maybe a little too much filing inside?

    Anyway they tasted awesome and our guests were quite impressed so we will be making them again in a few weeks for a dinner party for sure! :)

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    16 March 2015 at 16:36 |
    Hi Gareth
    That is brilliant to hear! I hope you keep the cooking going and try something else from the site too.
    Thanks for letting me know.
    Hari

    reply

  • Gareth crawford

    Gareth crawford

    16 March 2015 at 16:32 |
    I gave the madras kit you sent me a crack last night.

    Worked out great. Te pack itself is awesome. Looks really professional, well layed out and extremely easy to follow the instructions.

    The curry itself was really delicious and didn't taste bitter at all like when I tried the recipe myself the last time. It was fantastic and the guys I was cooking for all agreed!

    Thanks!
    Gareth.

    reply

  • Gareth crawford

    Gareth crawford

    02 March 2015 at 11:07 |
    Yea I know that the concentrate is very strong, I thought I was using it quiet cautiously but maybe not.

    As for the meat, well once I spread the spices over I did give it all a firm rub in for a minute or two.

    Thanks a lot for your advice and the madras kit sounds great. I will forward you my address.

    Thanks again.
    Gareth.

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    02 March 2015 at 10:38 |
    Hi Gareth
    Thanks for the feedback - My 2 comment would be I tend not to use tamarind concentrate because it's so dark and strong, try and go for a paste or use the blocks that you can rehydrate.
    The other is that maybe reduce the amount of fenugreek seeds you use in the blend and when you sprinkle the spices on the meat don't be too heavy handed.
    If you send me your address on the contact me form I will pop one of my Madras Curry Kits in the post for you to try.
    Thanks for trying the recipe and leaving a comment - it's really helpful to hear how your guys are getting on. Thanks Hari

    reply

  • gareth

    gareth

    28 February 2015 at 20:18 |
    I cooked this dish this evening. I cooked it in the slow cooker for 6 hours on low and I used pork shoulder. It was really nice however it had a little bit of a bitter after taste.

    I suspect this was from the tamarind. I actually used concentrated tamarind paste and I think that was the problem?

    I still really enjoyed the dish but maybe next time I will be a little more careful with the tamarind :)

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    09 February 2015 at 09:27 |
    Hi Peter
    Many thanks for your comments - I am so pleased you are enjoying the site and thank you so much for sharing it with your friends.
    In terms of plastic utensils I have looked into this a fair bit mainly because I love kitchen wear and like to know what's new. Thanks so much for the link it was a really interesting read and I agree we do have to be careful about everything we use in the kitchen. I too would always recommend using stainless steal pots and cast iron pans, glass storage pots and wooden boards. The utensil I use are made of silicone and having looked into the their safety there isn't anything to suggest they are leaching chemicals into the food - that's not to say it's completely safe, there just isn't enough information out there.
    From a personal preference perspective silicone spatulas are great to use because they don't melt, stain or retain smells and are very hygienic. The spatulas are great to use as you can easily scrape everything down. I do also use metal a lot too but it really depends on what I am cooking. http://www.foodreference.com/html/silicone-cookware-safety-310.html.

    Do let me know what you cook from the site as I would love to hear how you get on with it. Thanks for taking the time to drop me a note.

    Hari

    reply

  • Peter Franzen

    Peter Franzen

    06 February 2015 at 21:22 |
    Hi Hari
    Great website by the way.
    I'll be sharing it with my 4500 plus facebook friends.
    Best wishes
    Peter

    reply

  • Peter Franzen

    Peter Franzen

    06 February 2015 at 21:11 |
    Hi Hari
    Great recipe and I will give it a try very soon.
    Just one point though and I hope you don't mind me saying it.
    I hate to see plastic cooking utensils such as spatulas as they can melt in the pan and are carcinogenic.
    http://mightynest.com/learn/getting-started/healthy-living-guides/12-ways-to-avoid-toxins-in-the-kitchen
    I prefer to use stainless steel or wooden cooking utensils, cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans on the stove and glass for the microwave and for storage.
    Best wishes
    Peter

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    22 December 2014 at 11:27 |
    Hi Adrian thanks so much for your comments, your professional opinion means a lot, thank you. I'm really glad you are enjoying the videos and the website.
    A Madras should be hot and tangy which is probably why you add lemon juice. I like to get my tang from tamarind as it's a little more fruity and not as harsh as lemon juice. You could if you wanted to add a little more tamarind then the recipe suggests if you like more tang but if you prefer using lemon juice then that's fine too.
    I have used Spices of Indian a few times and find that their spices are good. You can also buy spices online from Natco. I tend to buy mine in bulk from Indian grocery stores but online is just fine. Make sure you store them correctly to keep them nice and fresh - check out my blog if you want any info on this.
    Many thanks for getting in touch and let me know how your Madras works out.
    Hari

    reply

  • Adrian

    Adrian

    22 December 2014 at 11:14 |
    Hi Hari
    I haven't tried this recipe just yet, but I am planning to do so. I have always added a squirt of lemon juice to my madras and also a 1/4 teaspoon of Garam Masala near the end. What are your thoughts on this?

    Also, I live in the country, so don't have any local Indian stores near to me. I have therefore bought a lot of Indian spices on-line - Spices of India. Where do you buy your spices from?

    BTW excellent website and youtube videos - professionally done and you come across very well and clear. I am a photographer, so bound to take notice ;)

    Regards
    Adrian

    reply

  • Jeff

    Jeff

    26 November 2014 at 14:48 |
    Lamb Madras simply amazing!

    reply

  • Jeff

    Jeff

    26 November 2014 at 14:37 |
    Hi Hari. Your lamb Madras was gorgeous! Nothing more to be said x

    reply

  • Bob Arnott

    Bob Arnott

    12 November 2014 at 15:57 |
    Hari, I look forward to watching the 'Youtube' presentations and I shall certainly continue to visit your site.
    Many thanks once again.
    Bob.

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    12 November 2014 at 15:51 |
    Bob it's a pleasure - I hope you continue to visit the site and try lots more of the dishes. Many of the recipes are also on my you.tube channel - www.youtube.com/harighotra so you can watch and cook along with me. Looking forward to hearing about what you cook next. Hari

    reply

  • Bob Arnott

    Bob Arnott

    12 November 2014 at 15:44 |
    I guess its because most restaurants/takeaways (in my area anyway) tend to use breast meat that us 'budding' home cooks try to replicate their flavours. However, from what I have read/learnt whilst cooking Indian 'style' food, that many traditionalists do prefer thigh meat for the very reasons you state. More thigh meat on my menus in future!
    Many thanks for taking the time to respond to my queries.
    Regards
    Bob.

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    12 November 2014 at 15:34 |
    I am a thigh meat fan i'm afraid! I always use it and I find it works particularly well with Indian dishes. With Indian food you tend to cook the meat in the sauce for a longer time period which means thigh is more suited to the style of cooking. When you add breast meat to a sauce it cooks very quickly so the meat doesn't really have enough time to take on the flavour of the sauce. It also dries out very quickly unless you are very careful.
    I thigh can be more fatty but just make sure you trim all the fat off when you use it.
    I can sense you converting to becoming a thigh meat fan too. Hope that helps. Hari

    reply

  • Bob Arnott

    Bob Arnott

    12 November 2014 at 15:22 |
    Hi Hari, Many thanks for your advice. Will give this a go soon. Generally do you prefer to use chicken thigh meat in your cooking? I agree though that it does hold up better with stronger spicing however, I am more accustomed to breast meat. Having said that I have made some great dishes with chicken thigh meat and rather frustratingly recent use of breast meat has been disappointing. For some reason it seems to turn out hard or rubbery. Any ideas why this could be? Regards, Bob.

    reply

  • Hari

    Hari

    12 November 2014 at 15:08 |
    Hi Bob, I am so pleased you enjoyed the dish as well and cooking the recipe. Fresh toms are great to use in this sauce. You are absolutely right this is a very robust sauce but it does work with chicken. I would suggest using chicken thighs as the brown meat holds the flavour better and reduce the the fenugreek seeds by half in the powder and I would only use 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds when you start the masala.
    I hope this helps and I would love to know how you get on so do drop me a note. If you can please take a picture of your dish as I would love to put it on my face book page.
    Many thanks for your comments Hari.

    reply

  • Bob Arnott

    Bob Arnott

    12 November 2014 at 14:36 |
    Hi Hari, Stumbled across your site when looking for Lamb Madras recipe. Saw this one and decided to give it a go (had everything to hand!). Only change was that I used fresh tomatoes. Result... Absolutely great. Thank you so much for imparting your knowledge and experience. I very much like Chicken Madras too but am thinking that this sauce may be a little on the robust side for chicken, any advice on a recipe for a chicken version would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks Bob.

    reply

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Hari Ghotra