Nalli Gosht

Lamb shanks cooked in a spiced yoghurt curry

Nalli-Gosht  Mughlai cooking in India is popular for all the right reasons. Deep, rich flavours with spices that are at the helm of curries. The warmth in these curries and the layers of flavours are second to none. Dishes like nihari and kofta are part of the repertoire.

Visiting family homes for a traditional Mughlai feast was always a treat. My favourites include murgh mussallam, kheema and korma. Mughlai cooking is renowned for its variety of kebabs and biryanis; both are a must at celebratory occasions & weddings as well. There are lots of authentic Mughlai restaurants worth trying out in Delhi and Bombay serving an array of dishes with closely guarded family recipes that have been used for generations.

My favourite include Delhi Darbar in Bombay for their drool worthy biryanis, also Karims and Moti Mahal in Delhi are worth checking out. A few friends in Delhi also recommend the Great Kebab Factory and Parathewalli galli as well.

I always make an attempt to replicate that taste and this Nalli gosht recipe is just that! A deliciously thick curry with ground spices, yoghurt and fresh coriander with lamb shanks soaking in all the flavours.

The recipe is a tad lengthy and also will need time and slow cooking but the wait and all the effort will be rewarded with perfectly cooked lamb shanks with meat falling off the bone.


  1. Add the lamb shanks to a bowl. Blend the garlic and ginger with a little water to a fine puree to form a paste. Mix the chilli powder and coriander powder with the paste. Marinate the lamb shank in this spice paste for a few hours or even overnight.

    Nalli Gosht (2)

  2. To make the curry; in a heavy bottom large sauce pan heat the oil along with the butter. Add the cinnamon stick, green cardamom, cloves and peppercorn. Sizzle for a few seconds as they infuse the oil. Now add the onions and cook on a medium flame for 10-12 mins stirring often. Add the slit chillies and stir. The onions will start to soften and go light brown; at this stage add the chilli, turmeric and coriander powder. Stir well to cook the spices. If it gets too dry add a splash of water.

  3. Add the tomatoes puree and frying for a minute making sure the spice mix does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Tip in the marinated lamb shanks sealing the pieces and cooking for 7-10 minutes. Add the Greek yoghurt along with the water and stir well to make a creamy gravy. Season to taste.

    Nalli Gosht (3)

  4. Bring the curry to a boil and simmer for an hour stirring half way through the cooking process. Make sure to turn the lamb shanks over to coat them in the curry. Now add the nutmeg powder. Stir well and simmer with the lid slightly open for 20-25 minutes. The lamb at this stage will be tender and the curry will thicken. Garnish with coriander and some lemon juice. Serve with roti or naan and your choice of salad.

  • Sutinder Behan

    This sounds delicious and lamb shanks are easy to get hold of and are reasonably priced! yumyum!

    • Darren

      Could I use lamb neck as an alternative to shanks?

      • Maunika Gowardhan

        Ofcourse! Just adjust cooking times. Enjoy:)

  • Simon

    Made this and what can I say…..spectacular!!! Has the authentic Indian flavour that you rarely get in you typical Friday night takeaway. Real hit with my family thank you Maunika!!!!

  • gregory browne

    Should I ground the green cardamom, cloves and peppercorn?

    • maunika

      You wont need to grind them. As the recipe states they will be frying straight in the oil to flavour the dish. Hope you enjoy it! Maunika.

      • Kate

        Hi, Please forgive my inexperience. Do you ever remove the whole spices that you didn’t grind? Will they be soft enough to eat at the end? Or do I remove them at serving time?

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Remove them just before serving. They add flavour to the gravy and lamb as the curry soaks in all the goodness of the spice. Enjoy!

  • Aseem Saxena

    Dear Maunika,

    What must each shank weigh?

  • Farzana

    Hi Maunika

    I would like to make this with a lamb leg instead of shanks.
    What do you think i should multipy this recipe by for a 2.5 kg leg?
    Thanks in advance:)

    • maunika

      Hi Farzana, I haven’t tried it with diced lamb leg although you could use around 800-900gms of lamb diced into bite size pieces which should work really well. Thanks!

      • Bushra

        Hi maunika

        Hope u r doing well..was going through ur recipes tried it butter chicken it was good…interested in making nali ghosht but dnt know how much is the total weight of the lamb shanks u used for this recipe.

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Thank you for your comment! A lot of time the weight can vary depending on how big the shanks are. Generally its best to ask the butchers for smaller ones also depending on what fit in the sauce pan you use.

          • Bushra

            thankyou for replying. i really admire ur personality and they way u talk is mesmerizing ….:)
            actually i need to make it for a dawat for 4 people in total. Deping on the weight of the shank i can use the saucepan as i have different sizes saucepan. approximately u can tell how much weight of lamb shanks u used in this recipe as i am oing to try for the first time so i would want to stick to the recipe measurments. thanks

  • Seth

    Curious about the lack of cumin here. It’s so ubiquitous in so much Indian food and goes so well with lamb that it was conspicuous by its absence here. Is there a reason why it’s not included?

  • Harry

    Hi – just made this. Truly gorgeous. Although I think my chilli was hotter than recommended and I did throw in a load of frozen spinach with 20 mins to go. Lovely recipe, thank you.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Glad you enjoyed it. The recipe recommends mild paprika which ensures a good colour to the gravy without the added chilli heat.

  • Wilfred, Toronto

    I made this yesterday and it was amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  • Louise

    I’m planning to make this for a dinner party with friends, what would you recommend serving as sides with it, ideally veg options and maybe rice but not bread? Also any starter recommendations?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Check out the vegetarian recipes on the site. The cauliflower or cabbage recipes are my favorite also the Poriyal is a perfect side. A simple pulao to accompany would be lovely. Enjoy:)

  • Karpagam Narayan


  • Saravanan Annmalai

    Hi Maunika,
    Can I substitute tomato puree with fresh tomatoes? Would 4 tomatoes suffice? Thank you!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes you can swap for fresh tomatoes just make sure they have a deep colour and good quality. Also slow cook the tomatoes so the curry thickens. The richness from the gravy comes from the color and texture.

  • Vicki

    I’ve marinated stewing lamb on the bone cut to bite size pieces instead of shanks and will finish the sauce tomorrow and enjoy the day after once the meat has relaxed and the flavours merged and matured. Sounds divine. Will let you know how it works out. Thanks for the side veg recommendations below; I’m off carbs altogether, so very helpful Thanks Maunika.

  • Manish Mehta

    I followed the recipe to to T & it came out incredibly tasty!! The shanks took me back to Delhi in the first mouthful.

    My butcher did not have small shanks, but two of the big ones with the same quantity of ingredients worked a treat. Needless to say there were no leftovers & a request is already in for next week.

    Maunika’s book is easy to follow & I’m making my way trough the recipes in this lockdown. Next stop Punjabi Tariwala Gosht.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it:)


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