This slow cooker meal is one for the books. It’s the perfect, belly-warming dish for a colder, rainy night. A few quick steps, then everything gets dumped in a crockpot. Six hours later, you’ve got a spicy, hearty, filling curry.
Here in Seattle, the summer weather is quickly fading away… and I’m being told to brace for my first fall and winter season here. As the temperature drops and the clouds start rolling in, you can bet I’ll be warming things up inside with this lamb curry.
My fiancé is Indian, and he loves when I make this dish because he says the flavors and smells make him nostalgic for his childhood. This dish is made with traditional spices and techniques. I’ve been fortunate to learn more about Indian cooking while watching and sometimes helping my fiancé’s relatives make meals for us. I’ve also started reading and following more Indian home cooks and recipe writers. I know I didn’t grow up eating Indian food, and I’ve been cooking it for even less time. But I am honored to share in this culture with my fiancé. And making food is one of the best ways I know how to embrace that.
My version of lamb curry is made with cuts of bone in-lamb that get marinated in yogurt and turmeric before slowing cooking in a bath of spices, including coriander, cumin, red chili and garam masala. The results are tender, fall-apart chunks of lamb smothered in a rich, savory gravy. It tastes as good as it smells, and will leave you feeling so full and so happy.
This dish is perfect for a low and slow Sunday meal. The blend of spices will fill your kitchen (and probably your whole house) with a deep, warm aroma. Plus, this recipe makes a big pot of curry, that will only get better on the second and third day you eat it.
Making slow cooker lamb curry…
The first step to this recipe is to marinate the lamb. I use thick cuts of bone-in lamb shoulder for this dish. It’s got a great amount of fat on it, and the bones add so much flavor as they cook down with the meat. You can use other cuts of lamb for this recipe and they will also work fine. But I’d highly suggest using something with the bones.
Salt the lamb well on both sides, and then smother in a mixture of yogurt and turmeric. Let the meat sit and marinade in the fridge for about an hour and then add it to your slow cooker.
While the lamb marinades, work on prepping the spice blend.
That starts in a big skillet with onion, garlic and ginger. Once everything gets soft and fragrant, it’s time. To pile on the spices. Cumin, Coriander, Curry Powder, Garam Masala, and Indian Red Chili. The first three spices are usually readily available in the grocery store. To find garam masala and Indian red chili, you’ll probably have to make a trip to the local Indian grocery store near you. They’ll definitely have the spices you need. ONE WARNING: Indian red chili is much spicier than the chili powder you get at the grocery store. Use it sparingly. I only use 1-2 teaspoons in this recipe and you can FEEL it.
Cook this spice mixture down for a few minutes, adding a few spoonfuls of water if you need to make it easier to stir everything around. After about 5-7 minutes, the spice and onion mixture can go right into the slow with the meat.
The final touches include a few tablespoons of tomato paste to add some richness and thickness to the sauce. Add a chicken or beef bouillon cube to some water, and add that to your slow cooker as well.
RECIPE NOTE: My recipe below adds some roughly chopped celery and carrots to the slow cooker along with the lamb. This is not traditional in anyway. However, it is a great way to add some extra veggies to this meal if you’re looking to do that. They’ll cook right down and blend with everything. But if you decide to stick with tradition and leave them out, that’s totally fine and won’t affect a thing.
Give everything a little stir, put the lid on the slow cooker and let the magic happen. Cook on high for about 2 hours, and then low for the final four hours or so until the lamb is super tender and falls off the bone.
I love to serve this over a fresh batch of jasmine rice. I’d also recommend some fresh Naan or some parathas. And don’t forget to garnish with some chopped fresh cilantro.
Let me know if you give this Slow Cooker Lamb Curry a try! I love to hear from you in the comments, or tag me on instagram @eat.think.live and let me see your creation! Plus, you can check out the rest of my recipes HERE.
Slow Cooker Lamb Curry
- 2 Lb Bone-in Lamb Shoulder
- 1 Cup Yogurt or Greek Yogurt
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Ground Turmeric
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion Diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger Minced
- 2 Tbsp Curry Powder
- 2 Tbsp Garam Masala
- 2 Tbsp Coriander
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 1-2 Tsp Indian red chili powder
- Salt & Pepper To taste
- 3 Tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- 1 Bouillon Cube (Chicken or beef)
- OPTIONAL: 2 carrot sticks Chopped largely
- OPTIONAL: 2 celery stalks Chopped largely
- Fresh Cilantro Chopped
- Rice, Naan or Parathas
- Coat the lamb on all sides with salt.
- In a bowl, mix the yogurt and Turmeric. Rub the mixture all over the lamb.
- Leave in the fridge for an hour to marinate.
- Add vegetable oil to a pan over medium high heat along with onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 5 minutes until soft and fragrant.
- Add the curry powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin and 1-2 tsp of red chili powder (depending on how spicy you want it). Add the tomato paste. Stir to combine everything. You might have to add 1-2 tbsp of water if the mixture is too thick. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- If using, add the carrots and celery to the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the lamb along with all the yogurt mixture.
- Add the onion and spice mixture to the slow cooker.
- Mix the bouillon cube with warm water and pour into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on high for 6 hours until the lamb is fork tender.
- Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and rice, naan or parathas.