Pre-cooked stewed lamb/meat

Pre-cooked stewed lamb/meat

The Curry Guy
Enough for about 10 servings

Whether the restaurant is a low-cost Indian takeaway or an upmarket Indian restaurant, the chefs will normally stew red meat for curries before service so that it is tender and ready to use. The reason for this is simple: if they didn’t, it would take too long to serve their delicious curries.

Lamb, mutton and hoofed game require about 1–1½ hours to cook and become tender using this method. These animals need a lot of exercise so their muscly flesh is naturally tough. Beef will be tender in about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Cows are quite lazy, after all.

Whatever you do, don’t rush things. Stew the meat until it is good and tender. By the way, this pre-cooked lamb recipe is actually a mouth-watering curry in its own right. Lamb is the most popular red meat used in curry houses, so I’ve used it here, but feel free to experiment with the red meat of your choice.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
6 cloves
5 black cardamom
or 10 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised
10 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
5cm piece of cinnamon stick or cassia bark
1 piece of mace
3 indian bay leaves (cassia leaves)
2 large onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon Garlic and ginger paste
1kg leg of lamb, cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
2 tablespoons mild paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
1 tablespoon Garam masala
Spice stock
or water


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat until hot and beginning to bubble. Add the whole spices and bay leaves and stir for about 30 seconds, until your kitchen begins to fill with the delicious aroma of the frying spices, being careful not to burn them. Add the onions and stir to coat in the oil.
  2. Cook for about 5 minutes before adding the salt, followed by the garlic and ginger paste. Fry for a further minute until the onions are soft and translucent and your kitchen smells like the best curry house in the world. This only gets better! Place the leg bone (if you have it) in the pan with the ground spices and the meat.
  3. Brown the meat for a couple of minutes then pour in just enough spice stock or water to cover. Simmer for about 1–1½ hours until the meat is good and tender.
  4. Allow the meat and cooking sauce to cool for use in your curries. The meat and cooking stock (remove the bone, if using) can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and will freeze well for up to 2 months. The stock is usually strained before adding to curries.


  • Double this recipe and you’ve got a nice meal for the day you cook as well as lots of tasty pre-cooked meat for your BIR curries. If serving as a curry, be sure to season it with salt to taste.
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