3.5/5 rating (117 votes)

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shank Masala

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Dietary Info LACTOSE-FREE
  • Prep 30 mins
  • Cook 5 hrs
Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Slow cooked lamb shank with a delicious masala gravy perfect for that special dinner party

Hari says

This is a dish that I cooked recently for my friends who were all expecting a curry but this was more special because is was full of all the right aromas and flavours but it looked like it had just come out of a 5 star kitchen at a restaurant. If you prefer a smooth sauce you can blitz it with a hand blender and strain it.

This is a really nice dish to dress up when you are showing off (well we all like to do it) at a dinner party.

It's a really hearty, slow cooked dish that is packed full of wonderful earthy flavours and it's not that difficult to cook either, it just needs a bit of time. The gravy oozes depth with lovely warming flavours and the meat just melts away. 

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. Find out more here.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 4 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 5cm stick of cassia bark
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 4cm piece of ginger
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 4 tbsp of plain Greek yoghurt
  • 4 tomatoes
  • ½ tbsp of garam masala, powder
  • handful of coriander, leaves
  • salt to taste


  1. Make sure you have a large enough sauce pan to fit in all your lamb shanks. Heat the oil and add the lamb shanks and on a high heat to just brown the meat on all sides. Remove the shanks and set to one side.
  2. Add the cassia, cardamom, and cloves and sauté until the spices become fragrant (just a minutes).
  3. Add the sliced onions and cook over a medium heat, until they are golden brown.
  4. Crush the ginger and garlic in a pestle and mortar and add to the pan along with the green chillies.
  5. Stir well for a couple of minutes and then add the turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander powders and salt.
  6. Add the chopped tomato and stir leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes to create a thick masala paste.
  7. Once the onions and tomatoes have melted into the sauce stir in the yoghurt a little at a time, until it has all melted into the sauce. 
  8. Put the shanks back into the pan and coat with the masala. Reduce the heat and leave this to cook for about 30 minute.
  9. Add hot water to cover the meat on the shanks and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.
  10. Leave the meat to cook until the lamb is soft and coming away from the bone, approximately 3 hours. 
  11. Check the seasoning and adjust if required. Sprinkle with garam masala and some chopped coriander leaves. 

Note: If you are using a pressure cooker at step 8 add the water to cover the shanks put the lid on and cook on high pressure for abour 30 minutes (approx 4 whistles). Allow pressure to release and open. You can remove the shnaks and reduce the juices or move to step 11.

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)12
of which saturates (g)4.2
Carbohydrates (g)1.4
of which sugars (g)1.0
Fibre (g)0.3
Protein (g)14
Salt (mg)0.35
*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 (9)

  • roy


    28 December 2016 at 19:39 |
    All about patience and slow cooking. Lovely . Another great recipe. Thanks.


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      29 December 2016 at 20:16 |
      Hi Roy I love this one - it's pretty special! Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment and using the website. Do keep in touch and let me know what else you try. Thanks so much and Happy new year to you Hari


  • Greg Upton

    Greg Upton

    30 March 2016 at 18:44 |
    This was a delightful recipe and a huge success with my guests. A seasoned curry addict commented that "it's the best curry I've ever had" fine praise indeed.

    The curry I cooked had huge shanks, Brontosaurusesque in size! As such I made 50% more sauce but the real success was cooking it at 150 Celsius in a huge casserole with the lid on. The bones roasted and the sauce was simply sublime. I can't tell you how good this was and was far superior to Rick Steins offering.


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      24 January 2016 at 22:40 |
      Hi Thanks for the link, this is very much how we cook this dish at the restaurant. This is a little more in the style of how I would do it at home where the sauce is more robust. All in all slow-cooked shanks are amazing so make sure give them the time they deserve. Leave them until the meat is tender and oozing with the spice aromatics. Enjoy and thanks for commenting Hari


  • Nigel


    16 July 2015 at 10:26 |
    Oops Hari, I probably made a silly comment there. I didn't taste the the initial masala, but obviously I tasted the second which I confirm I did cook separately and for the required 10 minutes.

    What can you do with clients like me? :-)


  • Nigel


    16 July 2015 at 10:06 |
    Hello Hari,

    Because of my doubts over the onions I decided it was only fair to cook the recipe exactly as written. So, yes I cooked the masala separately, slowly for at least 10 minutes to hopefully extract maximum flavour and it was nice and shiny to boot. I didn't taste the masala at that stage so cannot comment on the flavour - it certainly looked good.

    I have cooked a number of Lamb Shanks recipes including Madhur Jaffrey and Anjum Anand, but the stand out recipe for me was Rick Stein's "Cochin First Class Railway Mutton Curry" (cooked with Lamb Shanks). The other recipes were nice, like yours, but Stein's was so good I recommended it and cooked it for others - so I guess I am comparing this recipe to that one. There are additional spices in that and the meat is marinaded overnight with garlic and ginger so I guess that would provide a deeper taste.

    I hope that helps, but if anyone new is reading this I would still recommend they cook your recipes, personal taste is just that - personal - and all your recipes so far have been a delight to cook and eat.


  • Hari Ghotra

    Hari Ghotra

    14 July 2015 at 15:24 |
    Hi Nigel Always grateful for your feedback Nigel and I know this was a concern of yours. You can as you said remove the onions to brown the meat or brown the meat in a separate pan. Was it the flavour of the masala that lacked a bit of something? I would be intrigued to see if you cooked the masala separately without the shank what you would think of it as I think this is a very nice masala. Thanks Hari


  • Nigel


    14 July 2015 at 13:35 |
    Hello Hari,

    I cooked this at the weekend, following your recipe exactly, but I am afraid it was struggle to keep the onions from burning whilst browning the meat. I know terms like 'high heat' and 'brown' are all relative, but I think if I cooked this dish again I would remove the browned onions just to be safe. The rest of the recipe flowed nice and the final dish was fine - as you mention - an easy dish to serve before company.

    I am a great fan of you and your recipes, but this dish just didn't quite have the 'wow' factor for me that most of the other recipes that I have cooked have had. I'll still keep cooking them though!


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