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Lamb Coconut Curry – Lamb Pallipallayam

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Lamb curry

You’ve simply got to try this lamb coconut curry!

I love southern India. It’s a beautiful place and the food is out of this world.

This lamb coconut curry recipe was sent to me by my Twitter friend Nesan (@ttnesan). His family is from southern India where they make this family recipe with mutton.

As it’s mid February, the British lamb I purchased was pretty close to being mutton anyway. So use lamb or mutton, they will both work perfectly well in this lamb coconut curry.

I was a bit sceptical before making this dish. I love coconut but the recipe called for small chunks of coconut in the sauce and I wasn’t sure how that would go down with a group of friends I had over for a curry feast.

In India, this is what is referred t as a pallapalayam curry.

There wasn’t a spoonful left! Everyone loved this recipe and I will be making it again very soon.

What’s so good about the recipe?

We all thought the different textures, along with the fantastic flavour were wonderful. You’ve got the tender lamb which together with the crunchy coconut pieces makes the perfect combo. It’s so unique.

I have since looked into pallipallayam curries and they tend to usually be made with chicken. I’m going to do that next.

If you want to try a curry that is delicious in every way, you’ve got to try this infamous dish from the town of Erode in Tamil Nadu.

Cooking tips.

I pressure-cooked the lamb as Nesan suggested which made cooking the dish a lot faster. Pressure cookers are used a lot more in India than they are in the west.

You could also add the lamb pieces to the base masala, cover with a little water and simmer until tender in a saucepan. This will take longer but it’s definitely worth the wait.

Another idea: I changed Nesan’s recipe for ease as I was expecting a lot of people for dinner. In his recipe, the mustard seeds and curry leaves are tempered in six tablespoons of oil in a separate pan. Then this tempered oil is poured over the top just before serving.

Make this recipe your own.

I had a good play with the lamb coconut curry to adjust the spices to my own preference. I think I’ve done a pretty good job but everyone has their own personal tastes. Especially when it comes to a good curry.

So feel free to do the same.

Many cooks make pallipallayam curries with large pieces of fresh coconut. I cut mine smaller. This is also something you can adjust to taste. Cut the fresh coconut into large, medium or small pieces.

Making lamb pallipallayam

Chop up the coconut into small pieces as shown. No need to peel the brown skin off.

Making lamb pallipallayam

If using a pressure cooker, about 20 minutes should do the job. I cooked the meat with some garlic, ginger, turmeric and black pepper.

Making lamb pallipallayam

Temper the curry leaves in the oil and then add the chopped onion. When soft, stir in the garlic and ginger paste.

Making lamb pallipallayam

Next add the dried chillies, coconut and tomatoes.

Making lamb pallipallayam

Cover with the lamb cooking stock and reduce down by two thirds. If using raw meat, add it at this stage and cover with water.

Making lamb pallipallayam

To finish, add the stewed lamb.

Like the look of this lamb curry? You might also like to try some of these…

Lamb Rista Curry
7 Ingredient Lamb Curry
Railway Lamb Curry
Lamb Keema Shimla Mirch

Yield: 4 - 6

Lamb Pallipallayam

Lamb Pallipallayam
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 kilo (2 lbs) lamb or mutton leg chopped to small size
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 20 fresh curry leaves
  • 3 red onions - finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 15 cherry tomatoes - quartered
  • 1/2 coconut - meat removed and finely chopped
  • 20 dried Kashmiri chillies - broken in half and seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place the lamb in a pressure cooker and cook until tender. Mine only took 20 minutes and I covered the meat with about one litre of water.
  2. Heat the oils in a large wok or saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the curry leaves and fry until fragrant. This takes about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, soft and lightly browned. Then add the garlic and ginger paste and stir it all up together.
  4. Stir in the turmeric and black pepper followed by the red chillies, coconut pieces and tomatoes. Mix it all up and top with the cooking stock from the stewed lamb.
  5. Reduce the stock by two thirds and then stir in the cooked meat. This is quite a dry curry.
  6. To serve, season with salt to taste and sprinkle the garam masala over the top.

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I hope you enjoy this lamb coconut curry recipe. If you do try it, please don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Thursday 4th of January 2018

I must get round to buying a pressure cooker - until then, I always marinate my lamb in spices and plain yogurt overnight to tenderise the meat - not quick, but very easy - and just sharing that tip if anybody else is reading this and doesn't have a pressure cooker :-)

This looks like a great recipe, and will try it out this weekend when I get home. Thanks again Dan, and Nesan Happy New Year! :-)

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Thank you Paul. I rarely cook this with a pressure cooker. A simple pan will do just fine.

Cheers, Dan


Sunday 19th of February 2017

Your Lamb Pallipallayam looks absolutely delicious and is "the real deal".... This is one special curry I would encorage all of Dan's fans to try out... It's these authentic and unique regional curries that he prepares that makes his cooking a "cut above the rest".

Dan Toombs

Monday 20th of February 2017

Thank you very much for that Nesan. And for sending me the recipe! Love it.

Cheers, Dan

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