This lamb curry is inspired by laal maas, a traditional Rajasthani meat and chile curry that was fancied by Indian royalty and traditionally made with wild game and plenty of warm, earthy spices. This contemporary riff replaces wild game with tender lamb although rest assured that all the robust spices and chiles remain the same. If you have a more timid palate—and that’s not a criticism—simply take down the number of chile peppers.–Angie Zoobkoff

A bowl of lamb curry, known as laal maas with a silver spoon resting beside it.

Lamb Curry ~ Laal Maas

5 / 2 votes
This authentic lamb curry, or laal maas, is made with a rich spiced yogurt sauce, and meltingly tender slow-cooked lamb.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories327 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 45 minutes


  • 1 3/4 pounds boneless or bone-in lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) cubes (bone reserved if using bone-in lamb)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup full-fat yogurt
  • 12 dried red Kashmiri chiles, broken in half and seeds discarded (or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 yellow onions (about 2 cups), chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Sea salt

To serve

  • Roti, naan, or boiled rice


  • In a large bowl, combine the lamb, ground coriander, cumin, and garam masala and toss to coat. Add the yogurt, season with salt, and mix to completely coat the lamb with the spices and yogurt. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, put the dried chiles in a small saucepan over high heat, pour in enough water to just cover them, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes, until the chiles are soft. Remove from the heat but do not drain.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add the coriander seeds, and cook, shaking the pan frequently to prevent scorching, until the seeds are slightly darkened, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook until browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Dump the onion mixture in your blender along with the softened chiles and their cooking liquid. The liquid should just barely cover the chiles and onions. If necessary, add a little extra water. Blitz until puréed.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the marinated lamb. Cook the lamb, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, then add the onion and chile purée and, if you bought bone-in lamb, the reserved lamb bone. Reduce heat to medium-low or low and gently simmer, uncovered, until the lamb is tender, about 50 minutes. If the curry begins to splatter, partially cover the saucepan. If the curry begins to appear a little dry, add a touch of water.
  • Taste the sauce and add salt to taste, if desired. Serve with rice and plenty of roti or naan for dipping.
The Indian Cooking Course Cookbook

Adapted From

The Indian Cooking Course

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 327 kcalCarbohydrates: 21 gProtein: 29 gFat: 15 gSaturated Fat: 4 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 0.04 gCholesterol: 82 mgSodium: 110 mgPotassium: 947 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 10 gVitamin A: 1308 IUVitamin C: 200 mgCalcium: 90 mgIron: 4 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2016 Monisha Bharadwaj. Photo © 2016 Gareth Morgans. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This lamb curry was delicious and as authentic tasting as any I’ve had at Indian restaurants. The sauce was rich and spicy and the lamb was exceptionally tender. One word of warning—this packs a sinus-clearing amount of heat! I wasn’t able to shake all the seeds out of my chiles as they were a bit warped, so if you prefer less spicy food, you may want to make sure you remove each and every seed. Despite how spicy it was, we kept eating it; something in the flavor just kept pulling us back to it. I served it with roti and Indian-style cauliflower as well as homemade mango chutney, which also really helped balance the heat.

This delicious, deeply flavored lamb curry will prompt all of your guests to ask for seconds! While the Kashmiri chiles (I found them at one of the Indian grocery stores in town) are only mildly hot, they have a subtle and pleasant bitterness that adds a unique dimension to the overall flavor. We enjoyed the lamb curry with jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk with cumin and cardamom seeds and, of course, warm naan. When simmering the curry, I partially covered the pan after 10 minutes since the sauce started to splatter. I lowered the heat to low after 20 minutes and continued cooking it partially covered until the end.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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