Lamb bhuna

Lamb bhuna

The Curry Guy
4 or more as part of a multi-course meal

Authentic Indian bhunas are quite a lot more difficult to make than this British restaurant-style version. Bhuna is a style of cooking where hot oil or ghee is used to release the flavours of whole spices before raw meat is added, often as small pieces still on the bone.

Once the meat is added, stock or water is drizzled into the pan in small amounts, cooking the meat as it reduces down. This process is repeated for an hour or more until the meat becomes fall-off-the-bone tender and is served in the thick sauce it was cooked in. This time-consuming style of cooking wouldn’t be possible in most restaurants. This is still a dry curry, but made in a fraction of the time. Cooked boneless meat is used instead of braised raw meat.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons ghee, rapeseed oil
or seasoned oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Garlic and ginger paste
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander stalks (from the bunch below)
125ml Tomato purée
2 tablespoons Mixed powder
2 tablespoons Tandoori masala
500ml Base curry sauce (large batch), heated
800g pre-cooked stewed lamb, plus 250ml of its cooking stock, or more base sauce
2 tablespoons greek yoghurt
small bunch coriander, leaves finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 limes, juiced
sliced red chilli, to serve


  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. When it is bubbling, add the onion and pepper and sizzle them in the oil for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and soft. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste, and coriander stalks and stir these around in the oil for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tomato purée and, when it starts to bubble, stir in the mixed powder and tandoori masala, followed by 250ml of the base curry sauce. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes, without stirring unless it is obviously catching on the pan. Scrape any caramelized sauce at the edges of the pan back in.
  3. Increase the heat to high and add the pre-cooked lamb and the rest of the sauce, with the stock. Let this bubble undisturbed until it reduces down to a thick sauce.
  4. To finish, reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the yoghurt 1 tbsp at a time. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the fresh coriander and serve with a good squeeze of lime juice and/or some sliced red chilli, if you like.
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