Masala Lamb

Masala Lamb

This is one of our specialty main course dishes in the restaurant and is much loved by our customers. It consists of tender lamb chunks cooked in an onion and tomato spicy masala. This traditional north Indian dish has been on the Brilliant’s menu ever since it opened in the UK over 35 years ago. However the recipe itself dates back to the 1950s when granddad had the Brilliant in Nairobi, and even then the Masala Lamb was a hot favourite. The masala sauce has a smooth yet fluffy texture and the dish is best eaten with a hot chapatti or naan bread to accompany. The actual cooking of the dish takes quite a bit of time and for the lamb to cook entirely in the gravy requires over an hour. But the result is truly blissful, and it’s a dish you will make again and again when you try it once!

Serves 4-5:

  • 750g diced lamb (leg meat)  
  • 400g peeled plum tomatoes, blitzed to a paste
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 4 green finger chillies, finely chopped or made into a paste
  • 4 green finger chillies, made into a paste  
  • 2 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 40g salted butter  
  • 250ml water
  • 1½ tsp salt or to taste  


  • 6 black cardamom pods
  • 4 pieces whole mace
  • 3 small cinnamon sticks  
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and fry the cumin seeds in the oil for one minute until sizzling
  2. Add the star anise, mace, black cardamom pods, cinnamon and bay leaves to the saucepan and sizzle for 10 seconds before adding the onions to the spice-infused oil
  3. Cook the onions for about 10 minutes until they are a caramel colour
  4. Slightly lower the heat and add the ginger/garlic paste. Cook for one minute
  5. Add the peeled plum tomatoes followed by the turmeric, red chilli and salt and increase the heat to medium again
  6. Cook the masala sauce for about five minutes and add the lamb together with the butter to the sauce. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the lamb does not stick to the bottom of the pan
  7. Put the lid onto the saucepan and steam cook the lamb on a medium heat for 35 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so
  8. Add the water to the masala lamb and further steam cook with the lid on for 20 minutes. The water will help the lamb to tenderise in the sauce when steam cooking
  9. Add the green chillies, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala to the saucepan and cook for another 3-5 minutes
  10. Add the fresh chopped coriander to the masala lamb and cook for a final minute
  11. Garnish as desired
  12. Tuck into a rich delightful lamb curry