Durban Lamb Curry

Durban Lamb Curry

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There is a perception that it’s the only those that live in Durban can make the perfect Lamb Curry. I was raised in Durban so I hope that counts. However, my mum who still lives in Durban makes the best “Durban Lamb Curry“.

I try my best not to use too much oil in my cooking and it’s something I take into account when cooking a lamb curry too. However, my 17-year-old thinks it’s the reason my Durban Lamb Curry is not authentic enough. I definitely should add more oil and more masala, according to him that’s what takes the Durban Lamb Curry from good to great.

So here I was put to the test to replicate my mum’s Lamb Curry and I think I have done pretty well, This lamb curry turned out perfect with it’s robust flavours and melt-in-your-mouth potatoes. I think I have finally passed the test.

South African Indian dishes are a little rustic compared to dishes cooked in India, we do not blend everything into a smooth paste. You would also notice that we refer to the sauce in our curries as the gravy, somewhat confusing for those that don’t understand the South African Indian “lingo”. I think people are more familiar with seeing the gravy placed in a separate vessel on the side of the dish.

Lamb Curry was my absolute favourite dish until I had to quit eating red meat, nothing beats a good Lamb Curry. This recipe can also be used in a “bunny chow”. If you don’t know what that is, let me explain. It is a hollowed-out half or quarter loaf of bread filled with a curry of your choice and I think the Lamb Bunny Chow is one of the most popular bunny chows.

You can also try some of my other lamb dishes:

Mince Curry with Potatoes

Easy Lamb Rogan Josh

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5 from 3 votes

Durban Lamb Curry

Lamb cooked with aromatic spices the Durban way
Course MAIN COURSES
Cuisine Indian
Keyword durban lamb curry, indian dish, lamb curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 500 gram lamb on the bone is best
  • 80 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 onion cut in quarters and thinly sliced
  • 2 x 3cm piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 star aniseed
  • 1 black elachie/cardamom
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 2 tspn ginger/garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp masala
  • 1/2 tspn tumeric
  • 1 tspn garam masala
  • 1/2 tspn ground fennel seeds/soomph
  • 2 roma tomatoes blanched and grated
  • 2 potatoes cut into medium sized cubes
  • salt to taste
  • few coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)
  • 1 cup water see recipe notes

Instructions

  • Heat oil, add cinnamon stick, black elachie, star aniseed and bay leaf. Fry for a few seconds until it is fragrant. Add onion and curry leaf.
  • Once onion is translucent and slightly brown add the ginger/garlic paste. Saute for a minute.
  • Add masala, turmeric, soomph and garam masala and fry for a further minute. It will form a nice thick paste. Add a few drops of water if required.
  • Add the lamb and mix well. Keep the pot open and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. This is where the spices really get into the meat so do not skip this step. Add tomatoes, season with salt and cover and cook until sauce starts to thicken
  • Add the potatoes to the meat and allow it to cook for 5 minutes, be careful not to let it burn. Add a cup of water. Here you can add less water if you do not want too much gravy and if you are using very soft cooking potatoes. Sometimes the potatoes cook quite fast and your gravy would not have thickened by then, leaving you with a watery curry. Turn the heat down to a low setting and allow your curry to cook until gravy is thick and potatoes are soft.
    Lamb cooked with aromatic spices the Durban way

Video

Notes

Please take note that my recipes are created at higher altitude so I may use a lot more liquid in my cooking. If you are living at sea-level cooking is much faster so you may require less liquid, therefore you can adjust the recipe accordingly.

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This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Ndi

    5 stars
    Thank you Lorraine for the best Durban curry recipe. My first curry and my guests enjoyed it.

    1. Lorraine

      Thank you so much Ndi. I’m so glad it turned out well for you and your guests enjoyed it 🙂

  2. Eileen

    Thank you so much for posting your Durban curry lamb. I am an expat from Pretoria and JHB …always looking for hood curry ..as I remembered when I was young, ..l live amongst the East Indian . Love the smell of the curry
    Just bought some lamb and will be trying this over the weekend
    I m oriental …I love the Roti ,samosa ,,,I’m now an 83 year old .still trying to cook whenever I can,have been afflicted wth arthritis.
    You’re a lovely lady
    Eileen ( IVE)

    1. Lorraine

      Thank you so much Eileen for taking the time to message me. I’m really happy that you are going to try my Lamb Curry recipe. I would love to hear how it turns out. Hope you are blessed with many more happy, healthy years 🙂

  3. Zee

    5 stars
    Hi there, I tried this out and it was Amazing!!!!

    1. Lorraine

      Thank you Zee! I am happy to hear that your curry turned out amazing. It’s one of my favorite dishes to cook:-)

  4. Tenille

    Just made this now, all the way in New Zealand as I was missing a good Durban curry…it was so simple to make and absolutely delish! Thank you!

    1. Lorraine

      Thank you so much. Happy to hear that the recipe worked for you. Hope you safe in New Zealand:-)

      1. Taylor Paul

        Just made this Curry now for bunny chow, I like mine a little thicker, so I cooked the potatoes separately and added it when the tomoatoes had cooked out, adding the soft potatoes in the end, thickens the curry and lessens the cooking time. Was absolutely delish! Thanks for the recipe.

        1. Lorraine

          Thank you Taylor and you most welcome! Great to hear you found a method that works for you. Take Care:-)

  5. Lallie Pillay

    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe

    What masala did you use

    1. Lorraine

      Hi Lallie! Thank you so much. I used to buy the Rumbo Russi masala from Durban. However, I now make my own masala and that recipe is on my blog. Take Care:-)

  6. Kim Heber-Percy

    Hi. Your recipe calls for masala AND garam masala – what is the difference? Thanks

    1. Lorraine

      Hi Kim! Here in South Africa we have a spice blend which we call a masala, it consists of a few different spices, cumin, coriander etc but always mixed with chilli powder. This is used as a base for almost all our curries. Garam masala is a stronger spice mix and usually used at the end of the cooking process. However, here in SA we add it in with our other spices at the beginning of the cooking process. If you do not have masala you can use chilli powder with the addition of the other spices mentioned. Garam masala can be found in Indian spice shops or you can google a recipe and make your own. Garam Masala simply enhances the flavour of the dish but it’s not an absolute must if you don’t have any. Hope this helps. I will post a recipe for garam masala soon.

  7. Gerard

    Wow Lorraine!! Just wow!!
    I’m a ex-Durbanite living in Australia and I made Bunny-Chows using this recipe for dinner tonight!
    I could have been eating the best lamb bunny at Blue Lagoon…..this curry reminded of my childhood big time.I knew it was going to be special just smelling those spices cooking early on in the process!
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the world!!!!!

    1. Lorraine

      Thank you so much Gerard. I am really happy to hear that you could enjoy a taste of “home”. You are most welcome. Take Care:-)

  8. Aliyah

    5 stars
    Thank you for this delicious recipe, I added a can of butter beans and it was a hit!

    1. Lorraine

      Thank you so much Aliyah. Sounds yummy with the butter beans:-)

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