This restaurant style lamb bhuna will get you great restaurant style results.
I have made a lot of beef and lamb bhuna curries over the past year. The authentic Indian bhunas are quite a lot harder to make than this restaurant style bhuna.
Bhuna cooking is a style of cooking in India where hot oil is used to release the flavours of a long list of spices before adding raw meat – often cut into small pieces on the bone.
Once the meat is added, stock or water is sprinkled into the pan in small amounts which is then cooked into the meat.
This process is repeated for an hour or more until the meat becomes fall off the bone tender and the flavour in the resulting dry curry is out of this world.
How is curry house style lamb bhuna different?
Authentic bhuna cooking as mentioned above would not be possible in a busy Indian curry house so the recipe has been changed.
BIR lamb bhuna is still a dry curry with a rich thick gravy but it is made in a fraction of the time as cooked meat is used instead of slow cooking raw meat.
Also, at curry houses, a base curry sauce is used which becomes the sauce for the curry. This too is a time saver but it also gives the lamb bhuna its unique curry house flavour and texture.
Many Indian restaurants add a drop or two of red food colouring to this dish which gives the meat an attractive pink glow. I didn’t do this but you can if you wish.
The food colouring adds no flavour but it does look good.
As with most of my British Indian restaurant style curries, you will want to pre cook your meat and make a base sauce first. Once this is done, you can literally cook this lamb bhuna curry in under 10 minutes.
It is always a good ideas to prepare your ingredients before starting cooking.
You don’t want to have to start looking for ingredients when that pan is hot.
The small batch version works well too though it’s not as authentic.
I pre-cook meat in two ways. Most restaurants slow cook their meat in a spicy sauce such as this one for this recipe. They usually swirl in a little of the cooking juices too for extra flavour.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you might like to add tandoori lamb tikka instead.
There is another option too if you’re in a rush. Simmer the meat in your base sauce until it is really tender.
Don’t rush this! Simmering the meat in the base sauce will also give the sauce a delicious meaty flavour.
Following are some step by step photos I took of the cooking process.
Here are more curry house curry favourites you might like to try!
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- 2 tbsp ghee or rapeseed (canola) oil
- 1/2 onion - finely chopped
- 1/4 red bell pepper - diced
- 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
- 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro) stalks - finely chopped
- 70ml (1/4 cup) tomato puree
- 1 tbsp mixed powder
- 1 tbsp tandoori masala
- 250ml (1 cup) base sauce
- 300g (11oz) pre-cooked lamb
- 1 tbsp natural plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro) leaves - finely chopped
- Juice of one lime
- 1 red spur chilli - cut into thin rings
- Salt to taste
- Heat the ghee or oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. When visibly hot, add the chopped onion and bell pepper and fry them for about four minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger paste along with the coriander stalks and fry for a further 30 seconds
- Stir in the tomato puree and when it begins to simmer, stir in the mixed powder and tandoori masala, followed by about half of the base sauce.
- Bring this to a simmer and let it bubble for a couple of minutes, only stirring if the sauce is sticking to the pan. As it simmers, the sauce will caramelise to the side of the pan. Stir this into the sauce for additional flavour.
- Stir in the pre-cooked lamb and stir to coat with the sauce. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Increase the heat to high and add the remaining base sauce. Continue simmering until you have a really thick sauce.
- To finish, reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the yoghurt. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste. Top with the fresh coriander and serve with a good squeeze of lime juice and garnish with the spur chilli rings.
I hope you enjoy this lamb bhuna recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.