Roasted lamb shank masala

Roasted lamb shank masala

Spice Kitchen
Jana Liebenstein

This is a lovely, rich, fall-apart-tender lamb shank recipe for very cold days. At the Spice Kitchen we roast the shanks in the tandoor before finishing the recipe by simmering them in the sauce. The wonderful charcoal aromas cannot be duplicated in a conventional oven, but you could use a barbecue or chargrill pan if you really wanted to get as close as possible to those smells and flavours. Serve with plenty of Chapattis or Naan and Pulao rice, plus a Spinach raita or leafy green salad to finish off this delectable dish.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg lamb shanks
250g plain yoghurt
1/2-1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon mace flakes
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
60ml vegetable or canola oil
4 cloves
4 black cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 large onions, sliced
1 tablespoon Ginger paste
1 tablespoon Garlic paste
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon kewra water, (optional) (see note)

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
or Naan
Pulao rice
Cucumber raita, spinach variation
leafy green salad


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Pierce the lamb shanks all over with a fork and put in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt and salt, then coat the lamb shanks with the mixture. Cover and put in the refrigerator to marinate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the lamb shanks with the marinating yoghurt to a roasting tin, pour in 500 ml water and roast in the oven for 1–1½ hours, or until cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, grind the mace, cumin, coriander and fenugreek using a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder until finely ground. Set aside.
  4. About 30 minutes before the lamb shanks have finished roasting, heat the oil in a large frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the cloves, cardamom pods, bay leaves and onion, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until the onion is brown. Stir in the ginger and garlic pastes and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the reserved ground spices, chilli powder and coconut with 190 ml water. Cover and simmer over a medium heat for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Add the roasted lamb shanks and any cooking juices from the roasting tin, as well as the rum and kewra water, if using, to the sauce in the pan. Stir to coat and mix through, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for a further 1 hour.
  7. Remove the saucepan from the heat and rest the lamb shanks for 15 minutes before serving.


  • Kewra water is extracted from the keora flower and is used to flavour rich Mughal curries and rice dishes. It is less concentrated and lighter in flavour than kewra essence. You can purchase it in Asian and Indian grocery stores. You can omit the kewra water if you do not have any, but its inclusion does add something special to the combination of flavours in this dish.
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