Celebrate National Curry Week by indulging with this comforting, thick and rich lamb bhuna. This authentic Indian curry recipe is popular in British curry houses and is filled with flavours due to its famous bhooning or ‘browning’ process, as the ingredients are cooked over a high heat.
As a result, don’t expect this bhuna to be runny or creamy, but rather thick, chunky and dry, with not much liquid! Serve this bhuna with your favourite Indian side dishes and don’t hesitate to adjust the ingredients of this bhuna recipe to your preferred heat level!
a Bengal recipe
A lamb bhuna, also known as lamb bhoona, is one of the most popular bhuna recipes. Simply put, a bhuna is a fairly hot Indian curry which originates from the Bengal region. Bhuna translated from Indian, means to ‘brown’. Hence, any bhuna recipe involves browning the spices, including cumin seeds and coriander seeds, over a high heat in oil so that the maximum amount of aromas is released. This is what the high heat bhooning process is all about.
It is very common to add the meat into the ground spices, garlic and ginger so that it also releases its juices and adds even more flavour. A bhuna curry is traditionally known as a dry curry, meaning that it is not runny like a creamy korma curry recipe. In comparison, a bhuna curry is very thick, with just a splash of water added. It’s important to not add too much water, as a bhuna needs that thick, dry consistency.
Traditionally, a bhuna recipe is quite hot and is garnished with ingredients such as green bell peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and green chillies – if the heat doesn’t scare you. Of course, you can control the amount of heat by omitting the chilli and ginger element. For a milder bhuna, just use cayenne or mild chilli powder instead.
bhuna curry using lamb shoulder
What better way to recreate a fabulous lamb curry recipe than using fresh European lamb? This lamb recipe calls for using the lamb shoulder. However, you can easily substitute shoulder with other ingredients, such as lamb leg, lamb neck fillet, lamb steak, and more. As you can see, lamb is versatile, which is why you should strive to cook more with lamb! Just check out what you can do with lamb with these recipes below:
Thanks to EU-funded campaign Lamb. Try It Love It, more people around the world will cook with a beautiful ingredient like lamb. This tasty message from Europe will make you realise that not only do we have access to the highest quality meat, coming from sustainable farms across Europe, but lamb is also delicious. Understandably, it has a unique and strong flavour that’s not for everyone. Therefore, it’s for the brave and the bold. Lamb has the distinct ability to bring a certain elegance to any meal at no extra cost.
Thinking that it’s is expensive is a common misconception. There are multiple cheap yet delicious cuts available which are perfect for everyday meals. For example, cooking lamb steaks is a process that only takes minutes!
Lastly, lamb is a healthy ingredient, which is naturally rich in protein, low in sodium and provides seven essential vitamins. Most noteworthy are vitamins such as niacin and B12, which help regulate the energy production within the body and support the nervous system.
quick and easy lamb bhuna recipe under 30 minutes
Of course, making bhuna with fresh ingredients from scratch always yields the best results. However, there is a very quick and easy way to prepare this dish. If you are pressed with time or just feel like making comfort food without too much hassle in the kitchen, then listen up. You can purchase bhuna sauce or paste which is readily available in stores. No worries, it’s completely fine to cheat from time to time. Trust me, having kids, I’ve done it countless times. If you stick to presenting your bhuna like I did and use the right toppings (sliced tomatoes, coriander) with a little splash of water, you will get away with it!
So, here are just some of the sauces to which you can add to the lamb with a splash of water. You might even recognise some of these, so let me know which one is your favourite.
- Patak’s Bhuna Cooking Sauce – check it out here
- Loyd Grossman Sweet Tomato Bhuna Curry Sauce – check it out here
- Sharwood’s Bhuna Cooking Sauce – check it out here
In addition, you can use these pastes and leftovers can be used for more bhuna recipes. Compared to the sauces, I reckon they last you for at least two more bhuna recipes, so why don’t you experiment with other cuts of lamb or other meats? You can choose from this paste selection:
- Patak’s Bhuna Spice Paste – check it out here
- Geo Organics Organic Bhuna Curry Paste – check it out here
Whichever option you go for, I am confident that your lamb curry will turn out excellent.
what to serve with an Indian bhuna
First and foremost, depending on the spice and garlic level of the curry, you need to consider serving the lamb bhuna with a cucumber raita. The cucumber raita is a cooling agent and will immediately bring down the spice level of any curry and complement the garlic and ginger. Plus, it’s refreshing and tasty. In my opinion, no Indian curry recipe is complete without a side dish like raita.
Of course, let’s not forget the essentials like a fluffy, warm garlic naan. Making naan from scratch doesn’t require Michelin star cooking skills. In fact, it’s quite easy, you’ll wish you’ve tried it years ago. Just take a peek at my sweet peshwari naan recipe. Although I think a peshwari naan has all what it takes to be the perfect side to a lamb bhuna, you a garlic naan or a plain, traditional naan works well… just sprinkle some sesame seeds on your plain or garlic naan and you’re good to go!Print
Make an authentic thick and luscious lamb recipe. Read about the bhooning process and learn about its importance for recreating a bhuna curry. Enjoy!
- 10ml (2 tsp) cumin seeds
- 10ml (2 tsp) coriander seeds
- 5ml (1 tsp) mustard seeds
- 5ml (1 tsp) dried chilli flakes
- 5ml (1 tsp) fennel seeds
- 5ml (1 tsp) fenugreek seeds
- 5ml (1 tsp) cardamom pods
- 5ml (1 tsp) ground ginger
- 10ml (2 tsp) vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 30ml (2 tbsp) ghee
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1kg (2 lbs) lamb shoulder (or lamb leg), cubed
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 green chillies, washed and finely chopped
- 10 curry leaves
- 6 tomatoes, washed and pureed (remove the seeds from the tomatoes if you want)
- 5ml–10ml (1 tsp–2 tsp) salt
- 5ml–10ml (1 tsp–2 tsp) garam masala or curry powder
- First prepare the spice paste by frying all the spice mix in the oil in the frying pan until their fragrances are released. You’ll hear popping and the spice mix should turn a golden brown. The process should take around 5-10 minutes on a medium heat.
- Immediately remove the spices from the heat and grind finely in a spice grinder.
- In the same frying pan, brown the lamb in the ghee on a medium heat, then set the meat aside.
- Fry the onions, then after 5-10 minutes add the garlic, chilli flakes, a pinch of salt and the curry-leaves, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
- Add the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried chilli flakes, fennel seeds, ground ginger and fenugreek seeds into the frying pan and give it a good stir.
- Pour in the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste and water, and let the mixture reach a slow simmering point, then after a few minutes add the lamb.
- Continue cooking the lamb until tender. This cooking process can take about an hour. The longer it cooks for on a low heat, the more tender the results. If the pan gets too dry, add an extra splash of water.
- Season with salt and finish off with garam or curry powder. Check seasoning and add salt if necessary. Cook for another 5-10 minutes then serve.
- Serve with basmati rice or naan.
- Adjust salt and other seasonings to taste.
- Don’t use too much water as you want a thick, dry curry with a rich taste.
- Raita will help with the heat.
- Add fresh coriander or mint leaves at the end.
- You can substitute lamb shoulder for lamb leg.
- You can substitute ghee for coconut oil or sunflower oil.
- Serves 4-6.
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Indian
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 441
- Sugar: 5.5 g
- Sodium: 377 mg
- Fat: 20.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 7.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.9 g
- Fiber: 4.1 g
- Protein: 49.8 g
- Cholesterol: 161 mg
save the recipe to your pinterest board
P.S. This is a sponsored post.