My Little Chequered Kitchen

Sweet Lamb Curry …


I just adore spending a lazy sunday afternoon in the kitchen making a curry.  For me, there is nothing more satisfying than preparing your own colourful and fragrant curry spice mix.  As with cooking anything from scratch, it’s a fantastic magical feeling to see all of the individual weird and wonderful ingredients come together to create a delicious and exotic dish.  If you’ve never made a curry from scratch, then I really encourage you to give it a go!  It’s really not that difficult.  But yes it’s time consuming.  The biggest challenge is sourcing all the ingredients beforehand.  In Holland, every town and city has a number of tiny asian food shops called Tokos.  I adore these quaint little shops, usually run by friendly family members who have at some point emigrated to the Netherlands.  But even the Dutch supermarkets these days stock a wide range of specialty ingredients.  So you have no excuse not to find everything you are looking for.  Next, schedule an afternoon, perhaps a lazy Sunday, to spend in the kitchen and enjoy the process of creating a wholesome curry from scratch.  And once you’ve tried making one, don’t be afraid to start experimenting with the flavour profile and proportions of the spices in the recipe.  You don’t want it quite so hot?  Add less chili.  You want it to taste slightly richer and warmer?  Add a little extra cinnamon or cloves or both.  In the end, you’ll come up with your very own curry recipe that will no doubt become a family hit.


My love of cooking began as a small girl, while watching my Mum prepare the most tasty meals and the most magical birthday parties with endless amounts of sweet treats.  It was further fuelled by an early appreciation of Mediterranean and especially Italian food.  But my passion really sprang to life after discovering asian foods and although I would be hard-pressed to name just one cuisine that is my favourite, I do get especially excited when cooking asian dishes, originating from wide and varied lands from India to South-east Asia, and everything in between.  My brother-in-law recently returned from a 6 month journey traversing a number of these exotic countries and his stories of the foods he ate made me insanely jealous. I really hope that in the years ahead I will get the opportunity to travel through asia, purely to experience and learn how to cook their various cuisines. 


As for this particular curry recipe – Adam Roberts, a.k.a “The Amateur Gourmet” calls this the “Best Curry of your Life”.  I’m not sure I could ever label one specific curry ‘the best’, as there are simply too many insanely delicious versions, originating from many different asian countries.  But in saying that, this curry is delicious and truly a joy to make.  It’s a sweet, fruity kind of curry, due to the addition of various fruit juices and citris peels.  You might think that a strange combination to add to a curry, but the sweetness mixed with the warmth of the spices makes it a match made in heaven.  It’s quite unlike any other curry I’ve ever cooked or eaten at the Indian restaurants back home in New Zealand.  And it’s definitely been added to my reportoir of curries to cook on a lasy Sunday afternoon …  


Sweet Lamb Curry
Serves 4
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
3 hr
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
10 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
3 cardamom pods
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 or 2 whole dried small red chilli
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
8 small shallots
4 garlic cloves
85g of fresh ginger
1 1/2 - 2 kg boneless lamb shoulder
olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups canned peeled tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
8 coriander stems
1 strip orange peel
1 strip lemon peel
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
coriander leaves to garnish
toasted flaked almonds to garnish
Prepare the curry mix first by toasting the fennel seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds in a wide-bottomed frying pan. Once toasted, pop them into the food processor and process together with the cloves, star anise, cardamom pods, kaffir lime leaves, red chilli, nutmeg, and turmeric until you have a very fine powder.
Next, finely dice the shallots, garlic, and ginger.
Dice the lamb shoulder into roughly 4 cm squares.
Add a slosh of olive oil to your Dutch oven (or cassarole dish) and place over a high heat on the stove.
Meanwhile, season the lamb with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Brown the meat well in the heated Dutch oven in batches (this stops overcrowding and allows the meat to brown properly). Transfer the batches to a separate bowl or plate and put aside.
Turn the heat down slightly and add a generous slosh of olive oil to the Dutch oven.
Once the oil is heated, add the shallots and cook stirring often until they are brown.
Add the garlic and cook while stirring for another minute.
Add the curry spice mix as well as the cinnamon stick and ginger. Cook stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and salt and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks quite dry (takes about 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Take the curry mixture off the heat and stir in the coriander stems, citrus peel, the fruit juices and the lamb.
Put the lid on the Dutch oven and pop it into the oven for 1 1/2 hours, pulling out to stir every now and then.
Reduce the heat to 120 degreed Celsius and cook for another 45 min - to an hour, or until the meat is tender.
Garnish with coriander leaves and toasted flaked almonds.
Serve with rice and naan bread.
Adapted from April Bloomfield's "A Girl & Her Pig"
My Little Chequered Kitchen



11 Comments on Sweet Lamb Curry …

  1. Leonore
    May 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM (3 months ago)

    We’ve eaten a lot of curry’s in Asia, loved it! In our house Robert is the curry master. :-)

    • cheqkitchen
      May 9, 2013 at 7:47 PM (3 months ago)

      I’m so jealous! You must invite us over sometime for dinner and maybe I can blog the recipe. :) :):)

      • Leonore
        May 15, 2013 at 9:20 PM (3 months ago)

        Hehe good idea :-)

  2. Sian
    June 7, 2013 at 3:09 AM (3 months ago)

    I am totally making this this weekend (long weekend!)

    • cheqkitchen
      June 7, 2013 at 8:27 AM (3 months ago)

      Oh yeah it’s Queen’s Birthday huh? Let me know if you like it!

  3. Roger
    July 5, 2013 at 2:56 PM (2 months ago)

    I love your passion for the world of curry & the many forms & flavors! The Lazy Sunday curry genesis is a definitely a fav of mine. I’m going to make your sweet lamb curry tomorrow, but was just a little confused re Ginger being listed in the ingredients twice, when there’s only one mention of its application during the method though! Are you able to clarify that for me please? Thanks heaps!! :-)

    • cheqkitchen
      July 5, 2013 at 3:13 PM (2 months ago)

      Hi Roger!! Good spotting! Let’s just call it a typo. :) I’ve corrected the recipe now – thanks for pointing the mistake out!! And do let me know how you like it! Thanks for commenting! – Monique.

  4. Roger
    July 6, 2013 at 5:46 AM (2 months ago)

    Hi’ya Monique,

    Thanks heaps for your reply! Well, I’ve got the business going in my gas webber kettle in a dutch/camp oven right now… and the luscious smells are dominating the house, not to mention the immediate neighborhood. lol

    I took the liberty of using only the 85g of Ginger, and introduced it along at the garlic step. I had only 850g of diced Lamb, but kept to the recipe as I don’t mind stronger flavors.

    I’ll be sure to give you a report once we dine on this beauty! I intend leaving it to fester in the fridge until tomorrow night. ;-)

    Cheers & best curry regards,


    • cheqkitchen
      July 6, 2013 at 7:53 PM (2 months ago)

      Can’t wait to hear how it tasted!

  5. Roger
    July 12, 2013 at 8:21 AM (1 month ago)

    Hey there, I have a report;

    All began so well, and smelled awesome, but in two areas I went wrong. I think my use of the Orange & Lemon rind was too literal! …I put in a strip each, but full thickness including the white pithy pulp. So there was an enduring bitterness I couldn’t correct.

    My second mistake was in not cutting the ingredients measures back in proportion to 850g Lamb. It was a little overwhelmingly strong.

    The next night, I introduced some potatoes, mushrooms, some brown sugar, extra pineapple juice and natural yogurt, which brought things back into a more use-able flavor. Next time will be awesome… can’t wait!

    • cheqkitchen
      July 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM (1 month ago)

      Haha yeah I can imagine the white pith on the citrus strips wouldn’t be a welcome addition. :) Hopefully it goes a little better nex time!! :)


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