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Lamb madras. Done Indian hotel style. It’s one of the big ones. Truly great. At least for me. Madras is king to jalfrezi’s queen.

So I had to get this one right. And I think I did. Bold claim. I know. But it’s good. Try it for yourself.

It’s glebekitchen style though. No pre-conceptions. Just make it the best I can. So maybe a little different than what you’re used to. Not a lot different. But different. In a good way.

Indian hotel style lamb madras in a copper bowl from above.

Madras was in South India

I know. Lamb madras isn’t a real Indian dish. Madras isn’t even a place anymore. It’s Chennai now.

Nobody makes it in India. It’s a British invention. Like chicken tikka masala. That’s OK. Cooking evolves. Crosses borders.

It’s actually better than OK. It’s progress. Without progress we’d all still be eating what our grandparents ate. I’ve seen pictures. It wasn’t pretty.

There’s a story here. Or a legend. Not sure which. Not important really. It’s fun either way. The story goes like this.

About a hundred years ago some enterprising soul had an idea. A semi-random mix of Indian spices. Called it Madras curry powder.

They put it up for sale in a shop on Leicester Square. It sparked a revolution. The UK curry revolution.

I’m putting the south Indian back into lamb madras. Why not? I like coconut oil. So a bit of that goes into this version.

And tamarind. For that hint of sour. Instead of lemon juice. Not conventional. But tasty. So I’m good with it.

And I’m serving it with parathas. A bite of this madras curry wrapped up in a bit of paratha? Heaven.

Table scene with Indian hotel style lamb madras, channa masala and parathas from above

Chili pickle gives this lamb madras something special

Lagniappe. That’s a Louisiana French term. It means a little something extra. I love that word. It defines glebekitchen. What I’m always looking for.

Chili pickle is the lagniappe in this lamb madras. It’s a small thing. But a big thing.

Indian chili pickle is magic in a jar. It is very hard to go wrong adding it to any curry. And it works well here.

You can pick just about any chili pickle here. It’s a flavour boost. Not the star. This isn’t naga chili madras curry. You want that wonderful pickle flavour. But not too much of it.

Full disclosure. It can get spicy. Use naga pickle and it could get really spicy. Crazy tasty. But spicy.

If it gets out of control add more coconut milk. That should help tame the fire. A bit anyway.

Closeup of a big spoonful of lamb madras on a paratha.

This is hotel style lamb madras

This is a different take on restaurant style cooking. It’s not what you know. There is no curry base. Not the way you think about it anyway.

This is hotel style. Based on Indian hotel curry gravy. Think Indian haute cuisine. Mother sauces. The way it used to be. The way it probably still is at the best Indian restaurants.

I’m going back to fundamentals here. Pulling out all the stops. And I’m hoping you will follow.

This is not your local takeaway lamb madras. This is madras done to the max. May seem crazy to you. But sometimes you just need to make a leap of faith. It is so worth it.

Close-up of lamb madras in a hammered copper bowl.
Indian hotel style lamb madras in a copper bowl from above.
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5 from 2 votes

Lamb madras – Indian hotel style

This is a delicious take on restaurant style lamb madras.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword lamb madras, lamb madras curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 682kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen

Ingredients

Pre-cook your lamb

  • 12 oz lamb I like shoulder best. Cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  • 1 tsp curry powder or mix powder if you prefer
  • 1 tsp kosher salt – you want fairly salty to season the lamb. You will be discarding the cooking liquid.
  • 1 cup chicken stock – enough to cover

The spice mix

  • 1 tsp Indian restaurant spice mix – recipe link below
  • 2 tsp madras curry powder – you can get this at your Indian grocer
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi – dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

lamb madras

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil – any neutral oil is fine. I actually like a mix of conconut oil and vegetable oil (50/50) for this curry. Up to you!
  • 1 2 inch cassia bark
  • 2 tbsp minced shallot or red onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste – recipe link below
  • the spice mix from above
  • 1 cup Indian hotel curry gravy – diluted with 1/4 cup of water – recipe link below.
  • the pre-cooked lamb
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1/3 tsp tamarind paste – or tamarind pulp if you make it yourself.
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chili pickle – depending on which pickle you use this can make it quite hot. But the pickle really adds the final bit of wow.

Instructions

Do your prep

  • Make your spice mix. Pre-cook the lamb.
  • DIlute your curry gravy with 1/4 cup of water (the same 1/4 as in the ingredient list – don't dilute it twice). You need to dilute it because the lamb is going in pre-cooked. That probably doesn't make sense to you if you haven't made a chicken hotel curry yet. Just do it. It will work out.

Pre-cook the lamb

  • Add the lamb, curry powder, salt and chicken stock to a saucepan. You want enough stock to fully cover the lamb. 1 cup is a guess. I don't know how big your sauce pan is. Try to pick one that isn't way too big.
  • Bring to a simmer. Cook until the lamb is tender. This should take somewhere around an hour for lamb shoulder. Depends on how big your lamb chunks are. Also depends on the lamb. You are making stew. It's done when it's done I'm afraid.
  • Drain. Discard the stock (it will be very salty) and set the lamb aside. You can do this the day before if you'd like.

Make the lamb madras

  • Heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan until the oil just starts to shimmer.
  • Add the cassia bark. You should see little bubbles forming around it. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the diced shallots. Cook until they just start to colour up.
  • Stir in the garlic ginger paste. Gently fry until the garlic ginger paste stops sputtering. This is the only messy step.
  • Turn your heat down to medium low and add your spice mix. This is why you added 3 tablespoons of oil. You really want to fry your spices in the oil. Skimp on the oil and you risk your spices sticking or worse, burning. If your spices burn here you are starting over. No way around this.
  • Add the Indian hotel curry gravy. Stir it really well to get the oil to combine with the curry gravy. You want everything mixed together at this point. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the tamarind concentrate, the cconut milk and the lamb.
  • Cover loosely and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Taste the curry. If you can take the heat, add the chili pickle. A little goes a long way but it really makes a difference in flavour too.
  • If the sauce looks a little thick at this point add a bit of water and bring back to a gentle simmer. Cook for another two or three minutes. You want some of the lamb flavour to infuse the sauce.
  • Serve with rice or Indian flatbread. I like a tarka dal or chana masala on the side. But I always like a tarka dal or a chana masala on the side so I am hopelessly biased here.

Notes

Pre-cooking lamb is a restaurant trick to speed things up at service. 
You can make up batches of pre-cooked lamb and freeze it so it’s ready when you want to make hotel style lamb curries. Just make sure you are starting with fresh lamb if you do this. You cannot refreeze lamb (or any meat, in fact).
Make your Indian hotel curry gravy ahead of time. It takes time to make so think about doing it the day before.
I use this Indian restaurant spice mix in most of my Indian restaurant style curries.
For maximum flavour you should consider making your garlic ginger paste from scratch.
You may notice there’s no tomato paste or passata in this recipe. That’s because the tomato flavour comes from the hotel curry gravy. It’s there already.

Nutrition

Serving: 2servings | Calories: 682kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 194mg | Sodium: 1944mg | Potassium: 1000mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 6mg

12 thoughts on “lamb madras – indian hotel style

  1. This lamb looks so good. I am looking forward to trying it. Do you make your own pickle? If not, is there a brand of pickle you look for? It is amazing to me that such a small amount for flavor this dish.
    Thanks!

    • I use Pran chili pickle. It’s a naga based pickle so really hot. Any Indian red chili pickle works. It’s not intended as the main flavour but rather a little something extra. If you find you’d like more pickle flavour and can take the heat then go for it!

  2. The Lamb looks really tasty, if you wanted to cook for 4 or 8 people, what parts of the recipe would I increase and by how my?

    Thanks

    • Haven’t tried that yet. I think most of it would scale linearly except I would cut the spice mix by 25% or so and creep up on the tamarind and pickle.

      Certainly this style of cooking scales better than regular Indian restaurant cooking as the gravy already has the Maillard flavours from browning the onions.

      I have done a couple larger scale chicken curries with hotel gravy and they worked extremely well.

  3. This looks delicious. I am going to try it this week. Pretty much every one of your recipes here have been a hit with my family.

    Do you have any tips on what part of Lamb we should use for this dish? Any thoughts on Mutton vs Lamb?

  4. Romain, that is one mean madras recipe there. Congratulationz, I have been searching for a madras recipe that even comes close to what I was usually served when living in England. Yours is the first and only one that passes the test!

    Tomorrow I am going to make CTM with your hotel gravy. I figure if I dilute the gravy a bit more and precede it with passata for both the flavour and colour, it should work quite well.

    This site (you) have revolutionized my curries. Ever in your debt!

  5. Hi Romain
    Great Brilliant Delicious what more can I say the flavour and texture was spot on. I think the wife is in love with you. So the million dollar question is what’s next????

    Ian

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