Chettinad Iraichi Kulambu

Spicy lamb curry with fennel, chilli and curry leaves

Home comforts and slow cooking have been the order of the day over the last one year. And it’s something I will continue and look forward to times when I can have my friends around the table to share the meals I’m cooking. I am a feeder inherently and nothing brings me more joy then cooking lots of Indian sharing platters and table full of joyful people.

Food traditions have held us all together during the pandemic and despite not being able to visit one another cooking hearty meals and packing a warm meal for friends is what I look forward to. This Chettinad lamb curry is such a classic from the community with spices that are synonymous within the region including fennel, cinnamon and urad dal. I have used boneless lamb as it is readily available and also works really well with the richness of the gravy. There is enough fat in the lamb that renders in the gravy during slow cooking. Serve with pulao or parathas for much needed comfort. Wishing you all a wonderful Easter and the start of spring!


  1. Blend the spice powder in a grinder to a fine mix and set aside. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pan over  a medium heat. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, fennel and urad dal

  2. Fry for a few seconds and add the curry leaves along with the onion. Fry for 4 minutes and stir well as they begin to soften. Add the tomatoes and soften for 3 minutes

  3. Add the ginger and garlic frying for a minute. At this stage add the turmeric and chilli powder along with the lamb. Fry for a minute stir well to coat the lamb in the masala for 2-3 minutes

  4. Add the tomato puree and season to taste. Stir well and add the stock. Bring to a boil, add the spice powder and stir well. Simmer for 45 minutes over a low heat with a lid on

  5. At this stage add the garam masala and continue simmering without the lid for 17-18 minutes. stir half way through making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Serve with paratha and salad

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