indonesian lamb curry

indonesian lamb curry

Slow-cooked with lots of pungent spices, this tender lamb curry is customarily served with sticky or coconut rice and a pickled relish, chilli relish or fresh chillies.

Serves 4


  • 2–3 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2–3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3–4 chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 30 g (1 oz) fresh galangal, peeled and chopped
  • 30 g (1 oz) fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and chopped
  • 2–3 candlenuts (or macadamia nuts), finely ground
  • 1–2 tbsp palm or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 700 g (11⁄2 lb) boneless shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 (400-ml/14-oz) tin coconut milk
  • scant 120 ml (4 fl. oz) water
  • bunch fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped


Using a pestle and mortar, pound shallots, garlic, chillies, galangal, turmeric and lemongrass to a paste. Beat in ground candlenuts. Heat oil in heavy-based saucepan, add coriander and cumin seeds, and stir until fragrant. Add shrimp paste and palm sugar and stirfry for 1–2 minutes, until paste has deepened in colour. Add spice paste and stirfry for another 1–2 minutes, then toss in lamb, making sure pieces are well coated.

Pour in coconut milk and water and bring liquid to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, gently for 2–3 hours, until meat is very tender (check meat from time to time and add water if it gets a little dry). Toss some chopped coriander into curry, season with salt and pepper and tip into a serving dish. Sprinkle remaining coriander over top and serve with rice and sliced chillies on the side.