Mughlai Karahi Gosht

Slow cooked lamb curry with tomatoes, garlic and garam masala

Kadai-Gosht I am currently travelling through north India for work. You can see the pictures from my trip so far over on Instagram. And as many times as I visit various cities across the subcontinent its still amazes me how flavoursome and diverse our food is. Eating in parts of Punjab or Rajasthan gives you a glimpse into the local cuisine. The influence of Mughlai cuisine of course has always had such a vital part to play in our culture historically. And so even in a city like Mumbai it’s no surprise that you will find so many restaurants which strive to replicate the flavours mughal food available in places like Agra or Delhi. For those who know me, I am a big fan to meat dishes with spices. While writing my cookbook my editor asked if I could reduce the number of lamb dishes I had in each chapter! There are so many recipes with mutton or lamb that complement spices superbly and bring out the best flavours, for me it seems hard to resist. One such classic has got to be a slow cooked Karahi Gosht; slow cooked lamb with tomatoes, ginger, garam masala and chillies.

Spending winters in India eating Karahi Gosht with soft warm Tandoori rotis at local places in Mumbai, Delhi and or even Lucknow make up some of the best food experiences.

Most Mughlai and Punjabi restaurants will serve you a plate of this goodness as do dhabas and street vendors with succulent morsels of slow cooked lamb in a thick gravy bringing sheer delight with every mouthful. The heat/ spice of the dish combines with the rich gravy and slight sweetness from the tomatoes that make it very hard to resist. I prefer Tandoori rotis as they have soft as well as a crispy texture which make scooping up the curry a joy.

Cooking Karahi Gosht at home has always for me been about getting the flavours just right and like I knew they should taste. This recipe is one that I can say is an absolute hit every single time with family and friends. The key here is letting the tomatoes and onions bring out the moisture in the gravy without the use of any water. I was recently asked how the lamb cooks without any water in a recipe for Sindhi Seyal Gosht as well. The principle is exactly the same making sure it cooks in its own juices along with the additional ingredients. The Karahi Gosht is slow cooked in a curry that is infused with spices including kala jeera (black cumin seeds), tomatoes and fresh chillies. The dish is garnished with fresh coriander, slivers of fresh ginger and chopped green chillies. Serve with roti, naan or pulao. To buy any of the spices or ingredients you can refer to the diary pages of the website.

Method

  1. Add the lamb to a mixing bowl. Crush the garlic and ginger to a coarse paste and add to the lamb. Stir well and set aside for an hour or overnight if you have time.

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  2. In a heavy bottom large saucepan or kadhai heat the oil on a medium heat. Add the marinated lamb chunks and fry for 5-6 minutes stirring well to seal. Add the sliced tomatoes and cook for a further 8 minutes. The tomatoes will begin to break down and soften. Add the onions and chilli powder and stir well cooking for a further 3 minutes. Season to taste. Now lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes stirring half way through the cooking process.

  3. Add the greek yoghurt to a small bowl and mix in the ground spices; coriander, turmeric, cumin and black pepper. Add this to the karahi gosht and stir well making sure the yoghurt does not split. Continue simmering on a low heat and with the lid half over the pan, cook the lamb for 45-50minutes stirring half way through cooking making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

    Kadai-Gosht-2

  4. Turn the heat off and while it’s still warm add the garam masala, coriander, mint and ginger slivers.

  • Foodie in surrey

    Mixed feelings about this recipe. The flavours are subtle and balanced, but i feel that there would be more punch to the meal if the onions and tomatoes were browned to create a paste together with the ginger and garlic before the meat was added to the dish. I certainly didn’t get the colour photographed on the site and i tried with both salad and vine tomatoes. I also felt that the lamb needed a little longer to cook. (I used shoulder).
    Good flavours though and a nice variation to the Rogan Josh that often on offer in our home.

    • maunika

      Thank you for your comment. The rule of thumb to a traditional Karahi Gosht is the use half the quantity of tomatoes to the required amount of lamb. You don’t need to brown the onions or tomatoes as this is more about slow cooking for the desired colour/ gravy. Leg of lamb is ideal cut for this typical Delhi/ Mughlai dish. The curry cooks for 1 hour and 20 minutes in this recipe which usually would suffice for a Karahi Gosht although please feel free to cook it longer if your cut of lamb or quality differs from the one recommended. Hope you try it again and enjoy the recipes on the website!

  • Jen

    Hi maunika, thank you for this amazing recipe .Its very easy and the spices are so light to the palate . Like foodie in Surrey I was wondering why you don’t brown the onion first still I did fallow your recipe faithfully and yap it taste perfect and authentic home food . I think the reason why you should not cook it more than what you required is becouse when you are chewing the food that’s when the different flavour explode in your palate … You earn one fan over here thank you pls tell your mum thanks for the honest food

  • Kevin Joel

    Hi Maunica,

    Not specifically concerning this recipe but relating to spices. Only once in I think Simon Daley’s home style book did I see a photo of whole spices such as cinnamon, cardomom, cloves etc soaking in a glass of water. I’ve never come across this before and wondered is there a benefit to presoaking whole spices. I always make a paste with my ground spices to reduce the risk of burning but never thought that whole spices wouldneed to be soaked. I’d appreciate your comment please? Kevin

  • Clive

    Hello, I live in Trinidad where curries are very different so I would like to improvise. Which ingredient in your near perfect recipe that I dare replace with Fenugreek?

    Thanks

  • Avi

    What are black cumin seeds? – mine are light brown. I have black cardamon but not black cumin.

  • subha

    Thank you for the recipe. I can just eat it with my eyes right now ! What do you mean by ” making sure the yoghurt does not split” ?? Trying to make it next week and enjoy wuth home made Naan !

    • maunika

      Use a full fat yoghurt so it doesn’t curdle while adding to the curry. Hope that helps. Enjoy the dish!

  • Paul Worcester

    Hello Maunika – can you suggest a substitute for the greek yogurt which is not dairy please – For religious reasons I never mix meat with any dairy product
    Thanks -Paul

    • maunika

      Thank you for comment. Yoghurt in this recipe works as thickening agent for a creamy consistency although you could leave it out or add a small amount of soy milk instead.

      • Paul Worcester

        Thanks Maunika

        The soy milk worked fine

        6 people said this was a great tasty enjoyable dish – they all went home full :)

        • Sasha

          Try coconut cream with lemon juice or ACV for the acid flavour. The flavour of the coconut cream is not that strong as it seems to kind of cook out with the spices. I’ve done this with lots of curries and stews. It works if you need it to be dairy free.

        • Fawltyoldboy

          Paul, you could use a thickening agent like Corn Starch (mix equal parts water & Corn Starch to form a ‘slurry’ and slowly add it to the curry at the end of the cooking process – while the heat is till on). It requires a small amount of time to cook and thicken the sauce. You can then add a little Lemon or lime Juice for a tart touch.

      • Al T

        Serioulsy. Do not add soya milk to this recipe! Yuck! The yoghurt adds creaminess and acidity, neither of which can be substituted by damn soya milk.

    • nejat

      It won’t be the same without yogurt , because yogurt also adds a tartness .
      unles you could add lemon juice at the end.but this might curd any added milk.

  • Nigel

    A great dish with subtle tastes. Easy dish to do too. Excellent recipe, thank you.

  • sue lightwing

    I made this last night using lamb leg and it was delicious. I also added the green chillies. I will definitely be making it again. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  • Julita

    Dear Maunika
    How can I adjust this recipe to slow cooker?

  • Saman Hosseini

    This has become a weekly staple in my house, thanks for the recipe! I wasn’t aware of black cumin until now, then i realized the cumin my mom would bring back from Iran seems to be black cumin! The ginger and mint garnish really enliven this dish. I’ve made it with boneless leg of lamb and always comes out tender. I think shoulder, while tougher, may provide a better texture. If I could get my hands on well hung mutton in Virginia intend to try that too. Maunika, I’m curious, what is the theory behind the initial marinade in the ginger/garlic paste? Thanks.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you glad you enjoyed it! Marinating gives better flavour:)

  • dansus

    Simple but effective. Many thanks!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Glad you enjoyed it:)

  • Robert Bloomfield

    Had this for Sunday dinner today. Loved it! Will be making for my parents next time they visit.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Wonderful to hear this!!:)

  • Melissa Green

    Maunika, how can I make this in a slow cooker?

  • Anthony

    Love this recipe. To give it another dimension, a splash of brandy at the end. Try it!

  • Sarah

    Hi i just made this dish and my husband loved the gravy, however the smell of the lamb was still strongly present. Usually we would add cinnamon/cloves etc to remove the ‘lamb smell’ – this time, it wasn’t stated in the recipe and i assumed perhaps the garlic, ginger marinade would suffice. Please let me know what i may add to the recipe to remove the smell of the meat. Thank you.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      You could marinate the meat in the garlic ginger paste with a tablespoon on lemon juice as well. Also make sure the meat is fresh. That would mean there isnt any raw odour. Hope that helps!

  • Matt Hepburn-Taylor

    Make this all the time along with other recipes from this web page, bloody lovely my family love it!!!

  • Jane McManus

    Hi can I prepare this two days before I need it and re heat in the oven? I have got lamb shoulder and need larger quantities so guess I can just increase the recipe x 3 for 12?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes ofcourse it can be made in advance and taste better too!

  • maryam

    do you mean 5 garlic cloves?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Ah yes I do:)

  • Saman Hosseini

    Might this recipe be adapted for bone in chicken, any advice?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes although adjust cooking times as lamb takes much longer.

  • Katie Egervari
    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Wonderful!

  • Xing

    I made this and wonder why mine doesn’t have that nice layer of red oil above and the gravy is thick? Does using olive oil affect that?
    But overall good recipe, thank you!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      I tend not to recommend olive oil for Indian cooking so vegetable or sunflower oil is preferable.

  • Fawltyoldboy

    I first saw your video on the Guardian website, making this dish and I decided to give it a try. Thankfully New York has a number of well stocked Indian Food Specialty stores so I was able to get everything you used. I followed your process and after making the dish, I let it sit for 24 hours. I served it with Potatoes in a Marwari Style and Griddle Breads. It was sublime – the depth and diversity of flavors in the Lamb were the best I have ever tasted. I purchased your ‘Indian Kitchen’ book hoping the recipe was there. Alas no – but there are plenty of dishes for me to work on next.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      That sounds like a wonderful feast! So lovely to hear you’ve got a copy of the book. Lots to choose from. My fave incl- Lamb Dalcha, tangi kebabs, ragda pattice and the bengali prawn cakes. Happy cooking:)

  • Sanz

    Hi Maunika! Great recipe, I want my lamb curry to look just like this picture. Sadly, I do not have enough time in the evening to cook it on slow for so long, I would like to pressure cook the lamb. Can I do it with this same recipe? At what stage in the recipe should I pressure cook it to get max flavors inside out? Many thanks.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes ofcourse you can pressure cook. Fry the onions and tomatoes first and then once you’ve added your lamb you can pressure cook until tender.

  • Ian Sheekey

    Hi maunika
    Can I cook this in a low oven for a few hours before adding garam masala?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes ofcourse! Stir half way through cooking and add garam masala at the end of cooking. Enjoy!

  • Rahul Sardesai

    Hello Maunika,

    I hope you are well. Thank you for sharing the recipe. This is my next cook. Will you please share the ingredient proportions used for the Garam Masala used in this recipe? I have tried various recipes on your site, the ones that have the spice mix included always turn out better. The packed stuff just doesn’t have the flavor.
    Thank you!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Recipe for my family blend of garam masala in my cookbook Indian Kitchen! Enjoy:)

  • Simon Tucker

    Hi Maunika,
    I made this for the family recently and it was really lovely. Two questions I would like to ask to help improve my attempt next time… 1) the tomato skins did not break down despite a long cooking time. Is this just the way this dish should be or do I need to do something different? 2) any suggestions to stop the yoghurt splitting? do I let the dish cool and then add/reheat? any advise would be greatly received!!!
    Kind regards
    Simon

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Hi Simon, that depends on the quality of tomatoes used so if they have softened cook it for a little longer. But its great to have some of the tomato texture in the curry. To prevent yoghurt splitting-
      Whisk your yoghurt well in a bowl and take a tablespoon of the warm gravy and mix with the bowl of yoghurt this helps with mixing in smaller quantity. Now add this to the curry and continue stirring well for a few minutes. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Kaza

    Hi Maunika,

    Thanks for the recipe, it looks delicious.

    I am in Australia, does it matter what type of tomatoes I use, eg Roma tomatoes.

    Thanks

    Kaza

  • Aditi Pandit-Jadav

    hello,
    thank you for the lovely recipe. made this on saturday for dinner. my hubby loved it. (i made it, but i didn’t eat coz i am a vegetarian). the only variation i did was made it more spicy. by the look on my hubby’s face when he was eating, i can sure say it is indeed a wonderful recipe.
    thank you so much once again.
    regards,
    aditi.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f5dff3574f986075051c5dbde563940ea31992f9d38f6dd094eee95e84c5833c.jpg

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yay!! This looks so delicious and thank you for your comments so so happy to hear he enjoyed it. You can also use the same recipe for a veg option with aubergines or cauliflower:) Happy cooking!

      • Aditi Pandit-Jadav

        Thank u so much :)

  • Kaza

    Hi Maunika,

    Thanks for the recipe, it was delicious.

    I followed the recipe exactly but once the curry cooled down there wasn’t much sauce in the pan, is that how it should be? How can I get more sauce, adding more tomatoes?

    Thanks

    Kaza

  • Philip Gibbons

    Hi. This is very like one of my favourites but I use ghee or rapeseed oil and a lot more onions, some of them well-browned and a touch of hing. Otherwise much the same and a really lovely winter warmer in West Wales where we have wonderful lamb and mutton (cook mutton longer). Cooking on the bone makes all the difference. Great with porothas and dal.

  • Nina

    Is the sauce/water looking thing on top/at the side oil or is it actually water that’s been used?

  • n00bem

    Hi I’m loving your recipes haven’t ordered a curry since especially love your Achari Murgh best thing I’ve eaten. But I’d like to do a beef curry like the ghost or rogan. I know some Indians don’t eat beef, but can I adjust the cooking times and use beef and will the flavours still go ? Keep up the good work

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes absolutely! Works amazing with beef and perfect for slow cooked dishes. Hope you like it:)

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