Madras lamb neck

Madras lamb neck

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

I love cooking this spicy hot curry on cold winter days, but then again, I love to cook it on hot and spicy days. Mad? Yes, most probably. Hence the mad-ass/madras curry was born.

I’m a big fan of offcuts, which are often overlooked. Most of the meat available to us is the prime cuts, which is a pity. A lot of each animal ends up as secondary cuts, even wasted. Lamb neck isn’t something most people would ask for at the butcher’s, but it’s worth trying. We’d organised a whole lamb from a local farmer, so we got a lot of cuts we’d not been used to. It wasn’t a matter of choice, it was a matter of working with what we’d been given. It makes you slightly more creative. Having organised a whole lamb, we also had a freezer stacked with a generous serve of chops. I’m not a big fan of a slab of meat for dinner – I like my meat in things, coated with things and full of flavour. (That sounds a little wrong if you say it out loud.) I’ve been using lamb chops in slow-cooked meals. I think it actually turns out a better result – well, compared to those chewy chops straight off the barbecue.

Next season I think I’ll take up the offer of some orphaned (poddy) lambs and raise them in the backyard. But for now I’m happy for the opportunity to get a lamb locally and experiment with meat I don’t usually cook with.


Quantity Ingredient
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large onions, sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
700g barbecued lamb chops, cut into chunks
500g lamb neck, cut into chunks
725g tomato passata
salt, to taste
cooked rice, to serve
coriander leaves, to garnish
goat’s yoghurt, to serve (optional)

The madras paste

Quantity Ingredient
10 garlic cloves, chopped
4 chillies, seeds in
4 kaffir lime leaves
4 curry branches, leaves picked
100g freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon smoked pimenton
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
5 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. To make the madras paste, crush the garlic, chillies, lime leaves, curry leaves and ginger in a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste forms. Heat the pimentón, cayenne, coriander, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, cardamom and cinnamon in a dry frying pan until aromatic, then grind to an even powder in a mortar and pestle. Add the garlic mixture and enough olive oil to bind the lot.
  2. Start preparing the curry by heating a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan over low–medium heat. Add the onion and cook slowly, stirring often, and make sure it doesn’t burn. After 10 minutes it will have changed colour and the pan may be dry, so add a splash of water and stir it through until it evaporates. Continue this process for another 10 minutes.
  3. The onion will now be soft, mushy and almost brown. Add the curry paste you made and stir it through. Add the brown sugar and stir through for a few minutes.
  4. Add the lamb to the pan, stirring it around for a few minutes to seal it slightly. Add the passata and stir until well mixed.
  5. Pop on the lid and simmer over low heat for a few hours, or until the meat falls off the bone.
  6. Season with salt and serve on rice, garnished with coriander leaves and maybe a dollop of cheeky goat’s yoghurt.
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