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Lamb bhuna recipe

Lamb bhuna recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Curry
  • Lamb curry

This Indian curry takes a little while to make, but the results are really worth it. Serve with basmati rice.

311 people made this

IngredientsServes: 2 - 3

  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 (2cm) piece fresh ginger root, very finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped or 100g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 450g diced lamb leg
  • salt to taste

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:1hr40min ›Ready in:1hr55min

  1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add cumin, coriander, mustard, chili, fennel and fenugreek seeds. Stir until they are a shade darker. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Once cool grind into a powder using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Heat oil in a wide non-stick lidded pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add shallots, ginger and garlic. Fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until golden brown.
  3. Add tomato, stirring until the tomatoes are reduced to a thick paste.
  4. Stir in ground roasted spices and cook for 1 minute. Add lamb and salt, stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in 125ml just-boiled water and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for about 80 minutes or until the lamb is tender.
  6. Remove the lid, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring continuously until the sauce has reduced to the point where it clings to the meat. Serve with basmati rice, enjoy!

See it on my blog

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(14)

Reviews in English (13)

This is an easy yet amazing curry.Packed with flavour and so authentic.Fantastic!-18 Feb 2012

Fabulous curry, added some lamb stock as prefer a bit of sauce with curries-10 Jun 2013

Great curry which was easy to prepare and very tasty!-04 Jan 2015

Rich lamb bhuna

“The term ‘bhuna’ means to brown. In India we often brown the meat with the spices and masala paste towards the middle or end of the cooking process. This process, which involves turning, almost folding the meat in the pan along with the sauce over a high heat, really intensifies the flavour of the dish and here the rich, spicy sauce is thick enough to cling to the meat. We eat it with Indian breads and is lovely with a little raita on the side. Don’t be put off by the long list of spices, it is a really easy dish to make and just happens to be my Dad’s favourite curry.” Anjum Anand, Anjum's Australian Spice Stories



Skill level


  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 15 g piece peeled ginger
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 500 g diced lamb leg
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • ¼-½ tsp red chilli powder, or a little paprika powder for colour
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2-4 green chillies, whole
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • handful coriander leaves and stalks, chopped (and/or a few shredded mint leaves, optional)
  • spinach and dill raita, to serve

Whole spices

  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2-3 cm piece cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Process the tomatoes, ginger and garlic together in a blender until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the whole spices and onion and cook until the onion is well browned. Stir in the lamb, tomato mixture, ground spices, green chillies and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 15- 20 minutes or until you have a little less than half the liquid left in the pan.

Increase the heat to high and bhuno, (see introduction), stirring continuously for 6-8 minutes or until all the excess moisture has evaporated. Add a couple of splashes of water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low again, cover and cook for another 20 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning add the lemon juice, if necessary. The sauce should cling to the meat. Stir in the coriander and serve.

Anjum's Australian Spice Stories starts Monday 4 April 2016 on Food Network Australia. Visit the program page for recipes and more.

Lamb bhuna

Bhuna is a Punjabi word it means to reduce down, to caramelise and to cook on high heat. The result is a dish that has a great depth of flavour, and wonderfully tender lamb, too.



Skill level


  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 3 black cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken in half
  • 2.5 cm (1 in) piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 kg lamb fillet, neck, shoulder or leg, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 400 g tin of tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy based saucepan. Crush 3 cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and add to the oil along with the cinnamon stick. Heat for 30 seconds.

2. Next add the ginger and the garlic - stir and then add in the meat, stir to coat and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Now add the garam masala, coriander, chili powder and salt, Stir and cook for 30 seconds, or until you can smell the aroma of them roasting. Stir in the tomatoes and onions.

4. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 40 minutes, keeping everything nice and tender.

5. The meat and the sauce will now have a shiny appearance as the oil separates. Increase the heat and stir continuously for 10 minutes. If the sauce begins to stick add a splash of water. The reduction of the liquid will allow you to fry the spices and meat as you stir. This process is the 'bhun' and is what adds the depth of flavour.

6. Add 200 ml of boiling water and stir. Simmer for a further 10 minutes or until tender.

A tale of two gravies

This is the first of the dual gravy recipes. Told you it was coming. The right tool for the job. And more than one tool when needed.

The backbone is hotel gravy. That’s where the deep flavour comes from. If you haven’t checked out hotel gravy it’s definitely worth a look. Game changer I think.

And for the tomato I’m using makhani gravy. Sort of. It’s makhani gravy without the butter and cream. Cashews optional. So technically not makhani gravy. More of a tomato masala.

Same recipe though. Just don’t add the cream and butter at the end when you make the gravy.

That’s what I do when I make “makhani” gravy. Take it to the point right before the dairy goes in. Add the butter and cream when I need it. That way it’s two gravies in one.

See what I mean? The right tool for the job.

Cashews are optional because I’m allergic. So I can’t use them. Well, I guess I can but it’s really, really unpleasant. So I don’t.

The hotel butter chicken rocks without cashews. And so does this lamb bhuna.

You could use passata instead I suppose. Wouldn’t be quite as good though. And the makhani gravy is really easy to make. And fast. So I always go for it.

Slow Cooked Lamb Bhuna

Easy, warming and delicious, this Slow Cooked Lamb Bhuna is perfect for chilly autumn and winter days. Only 10 mins prep and then let your oven or slow cooker take the strain until you are ready to eat. Make double and freeze the rest and you’ll have an even easier meal for a busy day in the future!

Are you a fan of slow cooking? Those who regularly follow my blog will know I definitely am! Why spend hours faffing around at the stove, when you can spend just a few minutes prepping your meal and let the oven or the slow cooker do the rest?

This year I’ve teamed up with the ‘LAMB. Tasty Easy Fun’ campaign to share my love of lamb and bring you lots of delicious and easy lamb recipes.

Lamb works so well in a slow cooker, or slow cooked in an oven, as that long slow cooking process makes the lamb super tender, which means that you can use one of the more economical cuts of lamb, such as shoulder or breast. It’s fantastic either done as a whole joint, such a slow roast shoulder of lamb, or diced and cooked in a stew or tagine. But one of my all-time favourite slow cooking recipes has to be a slow cooked lamb curry.

Lamb curries are just made for slow cooking – not only does the meat get really tender but the sauce is totally transformed by the slow cooking process, from something very ordinary (a tin of tomatoes, a few spices, a couple of onions and some garlic) to something quite extraordinary – with hardly any effort at all!

You will find many lamb curries on my website – including my Easy Lamb Jalfrezi, Leftover Lamb Korma and my Lamb Keema Biriyani, but one which I have never shared before is a Lamb Bhuna.

As always when creating an easy peasy version of a well-known dish, I started by doing some research and discovered (as is so often the case) that there are almost as many different recipes for Lamb Bhuna as there are cooks! But many of the recipes had similar spicing and other ingredients, so I have taken the most popular ingredients to use in my Slow Cooked Lamb Bhuna.

What sets the bhuna style of curry apart from other curries, however, is the way it is usually cooked – the lamb is first slow cooked in the sauce until tender, and then the curry is fried on a high heat to reduce the sauce and intensify the flavour. The result is a rich, spicy curry with soft tender chunks of lamb and a fairly dry sauce that clings to the meat.

Not being one for extra faff, I have skipped out this last step of frying my slow cooked curry on a high heat. Instead I have tried to use the smallest amount of liquid possible in this curry and plenty of spices to achieve a similar style, without the added hassle!

If you have more time and patience than me, and want a slightly more authentic lamb bhuna, then you could absolutely reinstate this last step. Simply take the slow cooked curry, tip it into a hot frying pan or wok and fry it, stirring regularly, until the sauce has reduced to your liking.

But that really is a very optional extra step, which seems like a little too much hassle for me and rather unnecessary on a busy weeknight, especially given how great this curry already tastes! The lamb bhuna you see in these pictures was just slow cooked and served straight out onto plates with no extra frying, and I can assure you it was absolutely delicious – and my family clearly thought so too as it was clean plates all round!

As I was serving this up on a busy midweek evening, I went for very simple accompaniments to this curry – just some plain basmati rice (with a teaspoon of turmeric in the cooking water because my kids go mad for ‘yellow rice’) and a simple cucumber raita.

But if you want to get a bit fancier, you could serve this with my Easy Peasy Pilau Rice and a delicious Indian style salad such as my Kachumbar Salad. Alternatively if you are trying to keep the calories down at the moment, then why not try my Pilau Cauliflower Rice instead?

As with all my curries, this is very much a mild to medium curry – as that’s about as hot as my kids can cope with! However, if you like your curries hotter, do add in a little extra chilli to your liking.

I have given instructions below for slow cooking this curry in an oven and a slow cooker, so you can decide which fits best into your lifestyle. This curry will take 2 hours in a conventional oven, 6 hours in a slow cooker set on high and 8-10 hours on a slow cooker set on low. If you are cooking this in a large slow cooker, you may well find you have to make double to ensure you have a big enough quantity in your slow cooker to make it work.

In any case, you may wish to make a double quantity of this curry as it freezes brilliantly and means you can have a near instant meal next time – simply defrost the lamb bhuna in the fridge and then fry it up in a hot frying pan until piping hot all the way through – and as a bonus you will have made this curry even more authentic by doing so!

I would personally pair this delicious lamb curry with a robust and fruity red such as an Argentinian Malbec or young Rioja (look out for the words Joven or Crianza on the bottle). Alternatively this would go well with a Zinfandel from the USA and, if you don’t make it too spicy, a Chilean Merlot. If you prefer beer, this would go well with an Indian Pale Ale.

Lamb Bhuna/Bhuna Gosht

How To Make Lamb Bhuna Gosht Recipe | Lamb Curry Recipe | Gosht Bhuna Curry Recipe | Lamb Masala | Easy Lamb Curry Recipe | How To Make Mutton Curry | How To Make Mutton Masala | Lamb Bhuna Recipe | Lamb Masala Recipe | How To Make Lamb Curry | Easy Mutton Curry Recipe | Gosht Ka Salon | Pakistani Lamb Curry | Gosht Curry | Pakistani Mutton Curry | Simple Mutton Curry | Simple Lamb Curry | Bhuna Mutton Recipe | Mutton Bhuna Masala Recipe | Mutton Bhuna Recipe | How To Make Bhuna |

بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمن الرَّحِيْمِ

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaathu everyone!

Now, in general my family is not really a fan of lamb (apart from my dad that is). We all much prefer chicken over lamb and that’s in anything, whether it’s in curries or anything else. However, I felt like we have been eating chicken way too much this Ramadan. I think every iftar we have had some form of chicken to eat, one time it was chicken wraps and then it was chicken burgers and then it was chicken pasta. I could go on and on, but let’s talk about this lamb curry recipe.

Lamb bhuna curry is different to the normal lamb curry because it involves sautéing whole spices before adding in the lamb or mutton. Also, traditionally bhuna gosht (gosht is the Urdu word for lamb, by the way) doesn’t have water, or if it does it is minimal. It is meant to be more of a dry curry and the masala clings on the pieces of meat.

This curry is probably the easiest one I have made so far. Although the list of ingredients seems extensive because you add in everything almost all at once basically anyone could cook it. The longest time it takes to cook is the time it takes for the lamb to cook and you don’t even need to watch it. Give it a stir every 20 minutes or so and you can just carry on doing your think. Watch your favourite movie, read a book or have a cup of tea. Speaking of tea, I have discovered these new biscuits. They are my new favourite. They taste sooo good. The only problem is that they don’t sell them anywhere! I can only find them in Quality Save and there is NO Quality Save in the city I live. I bought 10 packets when I went to Manchester the other day and have them just stored in the cupboard. The 10 packets won’t last very long because I know my siblings will steal all of them.

Anyway, that is completely irrelevant and let us get back the lamb curry recipe that I am supposed to be talking about. With the cooking of the lamb the time it takes may vary. It can take quite a long time, but that is to be expected. When you cover it with the lid don’t keep checking it. Only check it every 20 minutes or so, because if you keep taking the lid on and off then it will take longer to cook. This is quite a spicy curry, so if you can’t handle heat very well then you may need to adjust the spices to suit your taste.

This lamb bhuna curry has pieces of succulent and spicy lamb slathered in a masala gravy.

Lamb Bhuna Curry

Bhuna gosht is a type of lamb curry recipe popular all across Pakistan. Whole spices are sautéed in hot oil and then the lamb or mutton pieces are added before being slow cooked to perfection. This lamb curry is packed full of spices and is loaded with flavour. The blend of spices add to the richness of this lamb bhuna and as this mutton curry cooks the mutton or lamb release their juices to give a delicious mutton masala gravy. Bhuna curry is a restaurant classic curry and now with this recipe it can be made at home! Serve it along with soft, homemade naan or chapatti for a delicious homemade meal that tastes truly authentic.

What is bhuna?

Bhuna is a style of cooking where you cook spices in oil first and then add the veg and meat.

After the meat browns, you add just a little water so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. You continue adding just a little water regularly for about an hour until the meat is melt in your mouth tender.

So little water is added each time that you really can’t leave the curry while cooking. You have to stand there adding just a bit more water until the curry is ready. It’s worth it!

What you get is a rather dry curry that has amazing flavour. That’s bhuna gosht! It’s perfect for dipping chapatis and naans into until it’s all gone.

Fry the whole spices in mustard oil for about a minute.

Add the chopped onions to the spiced oil and fry until translucent and soft.

Brown the lamb chunks with the onion mixture.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stir it all up.

Now stir in the garlic and ginger and the ground spices.

Cover and add a little water regularly.

Stir in the yogurt just before serving.

Lamb Bhuna

Traditional Bangladeshi Lamb Bhuna recipe, the meat is slowly cooked in onions with salt and whole spices until fully tender before adding in the spices, which adds to the richness of the curry.

In a non stick pot, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the whole spices.

Add the thinly sliced onions.

Instructions to prepare the meat before adding it in the pot:
Clean the meat, cut it in small pieces, wash it properly until the meat and water is clean. Drain the water and keep aside.

Add salt to taste, as a guide about 3/4 tablespoon.

It is better to add less salt now, as it can be adjusted later.

Put the gas up and mix this in. Bring the meat to boiling point. Once it does, put the gas down and let this cook on medium heat. Adjust the heat at anytime if required and stir at times.

There should be enough excess water coming out the meat, so the meat can cook in this water. Cook the meat for 35-40 minutes. You can use mutton meat for this same recipe but this part of the cooking time will be slightly more- as a guide about 50 minutes.

I cooked this partially covered for about 20 minutes only, you can cook it uncovered too. Cook on medium heat and adjust heat if required. If the water dries up, add some hot boiled so the meat cooks nicely.

Once the meat looks done like this after 35-40 minutes, follow the next step.

Add in the ginger and garlic paste. I used homemade mixed ginger and garlic paste.

Put the gas up and mix it in.

Tumeric powder 1/3 Tsp
Chilli powder 1 & 1/2 Tsp
Coriander powder 1 & 3/4 Tsp
Cumin powder 1 & 1/2 Tsp
1 & 1/3 Tsp Hot/Mild Curry powder

Add in the optional spices.

Optional spices:
Garam masala 1/3 Tsp
Deggi Mirch 1/3 Tsp (this adds a nice colour to the curry too)

Once you have mixed this in, let this cook on medium heat for 12-15 minutes on medium heat. Make sure to stir the dish at times and adjust the heat to lower if required.

Once the spices are cooked, it should look like this.

Add in the tomatoes and chillies.

I cut each tomato in 6 pieces and chillies in halves.

Put the gas up and mix it in.

Cook this on medium heat for 5 minutes, stir at times.

Finally add a little amount of hot boiled water, so the curry isn't too dry.

Bring this to boil and let this boil for 4-5 minutes on high heat.

Check the salt and adjust if required. If you add more salt, mix it in properly.

Finally garnish with fresh coriander, mix it in, cook for a further 2-3 minutes and turn the heat off.

Serve hot with naan bread, rice, or any flat bread of your choice. Enjoy!

Recipe Summary

  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 3 pods green cardamom
  • 1 pod black cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 large onions, sliced thin
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 (1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and julienned
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 pounds lamb chops, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 green chile peppers, halved lengthwise
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the green cardamom pods, black cardamom pods, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick in the hot oil until aromatic. Stir the onions, garlic, and ginger into the mixture. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until the onions are golden brown season with the red chili powder, turmeric, cumin, and salt. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until the oil separates from the gravy, about 5 minutes more.

Place the lamb chops into the mixture in the skillet and increase heat to medium-low. Cook and stir until the lamb is cooked about halfway through and the sauce has created a glaze on the outside of the meat, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the water over the mixture. Cover and cook until the lamb is tender, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the cover and add the green chile peppers and cilantro leaves. Increase the heat to high and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot.

How to make it

Full Recipe at the bottom of the page –

Saute Onions till golden brown.

Add Cumin Seeds, Ginger and Garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Add Turmeric, Red Chilli Powder, Black Pepper and Cinnamon. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add Lamb and Brown for 5 – 10 minutes.

Cook covered on low for 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes until the meat is very soft.

Add Potatoes, Green Chillies, Garam Masala and a little Water and cook for 15 more minutes.

Tips & Notes

Pressure Cooker – To cook in a pressure cooker, cook for 25 minutes rather then 1 hour. Then add the Potatoes and Green Chilli.

How to serve Lamb Bhuna

This curry is best served with Roti, Naan or Paratha. You can also serve it with Raita, Kachumbur (Salads), Achaar (Pickles) and Papadaum.

Storage Instructions

This dish can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for 4 days. It also keeps well in the freezer for up to 2 months.

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