Moghlai Lamb with Walnut Sauce

(Photo by Mr Bren/Flickr)

Serves 6-8.


1 kg/2 lb boned leg of lamb
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons Kashmiri garam masala
1 tablespoon soft ghee
24 dried apricot halves
375 ml/12 fl oz/1 1/2 cups hot water pinch of saffron strands


125 g/4 oz/1 cup walnut kernels
3 teaspoons honey


Trim excess fat from the lamb and make a few deep slits in the meat with the point of a sharp knife. Combine ginger and garlic with salt, spices and half the ghee. Press a little of the mixture into each of the slits in the lamb and rub remaining mixture well over the meat.

Soak apricots in hot water to cover while lamb marinates for at least 2 hours, overnight if possible. Toast saffron strands in a dry pan for a minute or less, taking care not to burn them. Turn onto a saucer to cool, then crush to a powder with the back of a spoon. Dissolve saffron powder in 2 tablespoons boiling water.

Heat remaining ghee in a large, heavy pot and on medium heat lightly brown the lamb all over. Add apricot soaking liquid and dissolved saffron, making up to 11/2 cups with hot water. Cover and simmer on very low heat for 40 minutes. Add apricots to pan and continue simmering for a further 20 minutes or until fruit is soft and lamb is tender.

To make the sauce, pour off lamb juices and skim off excess fat floating on the surface. Grind walnuts in a blender with lamb juices and honey. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Slice the lamb and pour walnut sauce over. Serve with pilau rice or naan roti.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)