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Restaurant Style Lamb Phaal Curry

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Your phaal curry can be as hot as you like it. Here’s how to get it just right…

This phaal curry recipe is made just how I like it. It’s way to spicy for my wife but perhaps not spicy enough for some spicy phaal fans.

The thing is, you really can make this as spicy as you like.

Use my recipe below as a guide and then pimp it up some if you want.

Taste as you cook and you really can’t go wrong. 

Phaal curry

The perfect phaal curry. For me anyway. You should adjust the spicing to your own preferences. It’s delicious served with a few ice cold IPAs from The Fourpure Brewing Company!

What is a phaal curry?

We’ve all heard the stories about restaurants running hottest curry contests. Some of those curries, which I have tried a few are ridiculously spicy!

These are phaal curries and they are made more as an eating challenge than a good curry you can enjoy. 

I have personally cooked such curries that are so hot it’s difficult to breath while they are cooking. For some, this phaal curry will offer a similar experience. 

That said, my recipe is toned down a little. I like to taste the other ingredients. In my opinion, it’s not all about the heat though I’m sure some will disagree with me there.

Getting this phaal curry recipe right…

In the following recipe I use a lot of red chilli powder and blended scotch bonnet chillies. This is the perfect combo for my taste.

If you are hoping to go even hotter, add some more fresh chillies to taste. You might also like to look for hotter red chilli powder or add more.

Ghost chilli powder is some of the hottest if not the hottest on the market. Use some of that and I promise you will get the heat you’re looking for.


I’m too old for such things these days. 

Preparing Ahead

All of the authentic Indian restaurant style curry recipes on my site use a base curry sauce. My ‘go to’ recipe is here.

Ingredients for phaal curry recipe

It’s a good idea to get all of your ingredients together before starting cooking.

Pre-cooked lamb
Lamb meat takes some time to cook until tender. For this reason, the lamb is pre-cooked at restaurants so that they can cook the curries and serve them quickly.

In this case I just used some leftover lamb from a roast leg of lamb I cooked for Sunday dinner.

If you want to do it the Indian restaurant way, I suggest trying my stewed lamb recipe or tandoori lamb tikka.

Another popular option would be to cook the lamb pieces in your prepared base sauce. This adds a delicious flavour to the base sauce too.

Ingredient substitutes…

This might be a lamb phaal curry recipe but there’s no reason you can’t use another main ingredient!

Just like when you go out to a curry house and see phaal on the menu. You are usually offered a selection of main ingredients to choose from like lamb, chicken, king prawns and paneer.

Just follow phaal sauce instructions and add the main ingredient of your choice.

Following are step by step photographed instructions…

Frying onions

Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat and fry the onions for a few minutes.

Adding bell pepper to the pan

Add the bell pepper and fry for a minute or so.

Adding garlic and ginger paste

Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for another 30 seconds.

Adding scotch bonnet chillies.

Add the blended scotch bonnet chillies and bring to a simmer.

Stirring in Mr Naga

Stir in the Mr Naga paste.

Adding ground spices to the pan

Then add the ground spices.

Adding base sauce and tomato puree to pan

Stir in the tomato puree and a ladle or two of the base curry sauce. Then bring to a simmer, only stirring if the sauce is sticking to the pan.

Add the meat and stir to coat in the sauce. Add more base if your curry is looking dry.

Phaal curry


Like this phaal curry? Here are more curry house curry favourites you might like to try!

Chicken Korma
Chicken Madras
Chicken Dhansak
Lamb Rogan Josh
Lamb Vindaloo
Chicken Chilli Garlic
Chicken Patia
Lamb Bhuna

lamb phaal curry

Serve with a few chillies if you like.

Finished phaal curry

Dig in!


Yield: 2

Restaurant Style Lamb Phaal Curry

phaal curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes



  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When visibly hot, add the chopped onions and fry for three to five minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and fry for 30 seconds, then add the blended habanero chillies.
  3. Stir in the Mr Naga paste.
  4. Add the mixed powder and Kashmiri chilli powder followed by the tomato puree and stir to combine, then add about 125ml (½ cup) of the base sauce.
  5. Allow this to come to a simmer. This is a good time to add the pre-cooked lamb. Stir to coat in the sauce.
  6. Add more base sauce whenever the curry is looking dry and simmer again, only stirring if the sauce is sticking to the pan. As you cook, the sauce will caramelise to the side of the pan. Stir this in as it adds flavour.
  7. Season with salt to taste. Sprinkle the kasoori methi over the top by rubbing it between your fingers.
  8. To serve, garnish with the garam masala and coriander.

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I hope you enjoy this phaal curry recipe. If you do give it a try, please leave a comment. I would love to hear about your phaal experience.

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