This rich and fragrant lamb shank curry from Karan Gokani’s Hoppers The Cookbook is a popular dish on Hoppers’ restaurant menu. In South India and Sri Lanka it’s commonly made with goat or mutton but Hoppers use good quality British lamb to create a fall-off-the-bone dish. This makes a great centre-piece for a meal for two and goes well with Coiled Rotis, or rice.
Read my full review of Hoppers: The Cookbook by Karan Gokani.
The Hoppers London Lamb Shank Curry
- 1½ tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 600-800 (1 lb 5 oz – 1 lb 12 oz) lamb shanks, bone-in and skin removed
- 3½ tbsp coconut oil
- 1½ tbsp Jaffna Curry Powder (see link to recipe, below)
- 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 tsp chilli powder or paprika
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 5 cm (2 in) cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- 200 g (7 oz) red onions (approx. 1 medium onion), finely sliced
- 15-18 curry leaves
- 10 cm (4 in) piece pandan leaf
- 1 lemongrass stick, cut in half lengthways
- 150 g (5½ oz) ripe tomatoes (approx. 1 large tomato), finely chopped
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) coconut milk
For the garnish (optional)
- 25 g (1 oz) fresh ginger, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 10 curry leaves
- oil, for frying
- 1 banana shallot, finely sliced and macerated for 10 minutes in lime juice or rice vinegar
Combine ½ tbsp garlic and ½ tbsp ginger with ½ tsp salt in a pestle and mortar. Pound to a paste, adding a splash of water to bring everything together. Mix in the ground turmeric, then rub the paste all over the lamb shanks. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Heat 1½ tbsp of the coconut oil in a casserole dish (Dutch oven) over a high heat and fry the lamb shanks until they are light brown all over. Add the curry powder, black pepper and chilli powder along with enough water to just cover the shanks, then cover the pan and simmer for 35–40 minutes over a low-medium heat. The lamb meat should be completely tender and almost falling off the bone. Alternatively, cook tightly covered in an oven at 180°C/160°C fan/350°F for approximately 1½ hours, or until the meat is tender to the touch and almost falls off the bone, but still holds its shape. Remove the shanks to a plate and reserve the cooking liquid.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp coconut oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. After 30 seconds add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for 6–8 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Add the remaining ginger and garlic and continue to cook for 3 minutes, adding a splash of water if required.
Add half the curry leaves, the pandan leaf and lemongrass. Stir in the tomato and continue to fry until the tomato has become a thick, jammy pulp and the oil rises to the top. Add about 200ml (7fl oz) of the lamb cooking liquid and simmer for 15 minutes. Add more liquid if you prefer the sauce thinner.
Add the lamb shanks back to the pan along with 250ml (9fl oz) of the reserved lamb cooking liquid and the coconut milk and simmer for a final 10 minutes over a low heat. Season with the remaining salt, adding more or less to your taste.
For a simple garnish, if you like, fry the ginger along with the curry leaves in a little oil to sprinkle over at the end. I also like to lightly pickle shallots in a little rice vinegar or lime juice; the sharp tang works brilliantly to contrast the richness of the meat.
Made the recipe? Let us know how you got on in the comments.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Hoppers The Cookbook by Karan Gokani from publishers Quadrille. Book photography by Ryan Wijayaratne. Home photography by Shaunn Griffiths.