Posted on March 27, 2017 by

March – Spice Braised Shoulder of Lamb

My March recipe is a firm favourite and is perfect for entertaining lots of guests in one go. You can give this recipe a go with hogget, mutton or even goat, so long as you stick to the shoulders. 

Serves 8-10


  • 2 shoulders of lamb, weighing about 1.5kg each, trimmed of any surface fat
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 8 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 250ml malt vinegar
  • 500g plain yoghurt
  • 110g crisp fried onions (deep fry 600g onions, sliced in at least 600ml oil until golden brown, then remove and drain on kitchen paper)
  • 2 tsp royal (black) cumin
  • 1 tbsp chopped green coriander, stalks and leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and sliced 1cm thick
  • 3 large red onions, sliced 1cm thick
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, about 5cm each
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 500ml water
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 4 tbsp single cream
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, stalks and leaves


With the tip of a sharp knife, cut small incisions in the lamb shoulders at approximately 5cm intervals. Mix together the red chilli powder, ginger and garlic paste, vinegar, yoghurt, fried onions, cumin seeds, coriander, rose petals and salt. Using your hands, massage the spice mixture over the shoulders, rubbing and pressing the spices into the gashes created by the knife. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Arrange the sliced potato and onion on a deep oiled baking tray. Place the shoulders on top of the potato and onion slices, add the bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom, then pour the water around the shoulders and cover the tray with foil. Place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C and braise for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and ready to fall off the bone. Remove the shoulders from the liquid and place on a cooling rack. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve to make the sauce.

Now roast the shoulders on a barbecue or under a very hot grill, basting frequently with the melted butter, until crisp and well browned. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice, any leftover melted butter and the chaat masala.

For the sauce, bring the cooking juice to the boil in a small pan and simmer until reduced to a coating consistency. Correct the seasoning and gradually stir in the cream, garam masala and fresh coriander. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with naan bread.

Tip: It’s important to drain all the liquid from the shoulders before roasting them, in order to get a crisp finish.