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Best Durban Lamb Curry

Best Durban Lamb Curry

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If you live in South Africa you would know there is a perception that only those that live in Durban can make the perfect Durban Lamb Curry. I beg to differ because I don’t live in Durban.

Durban Lamb Curry in a grey bowl

Best Durban 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.

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.

According to him I definitely should add more oil and more masala, that’s what takes the Durban Lamb Curry from good to great. Now that I don’t eat lamb anymore they can have all the oil they want…haha!

So here I was put to the test to replicate my mum’s Durban 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.

Yes, don’t forget the only potatoes Indians use in their curries is Up-To-Date Potatoes. It is difficult to always find them in Johannesburg so I sometimes make do with whatever I can find.

Cooking a Durban Lamb Curry

The secret to making a great curry is to always cook your curry low and slow and of course, loads of love. Do not attempt cooking a curry on high heat and rushing the process, it will be a disaster.

It is also important to cook your spices for a few minutes before adding the other ingredients. This allows the spices to infuse and it does take your curry to a whole new level, trust me on this.

South African Indian Cooking

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.

This is 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.

Great for Bunny Chows

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.

If you looking for a recipe that’s a little different, you can give the one from Spruce Eats a try.


You can also try some of my other lamb dishes:

Mince Curry with Potatoes

Easy Lamb Rogan Josh

Durban Lamb Curry in a grey bowl
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5 from 14 votes

Best Durban Lamb Curry

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


  • 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 anise
  • 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


  • 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.



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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Friday 24th of June 2022

Thank you so much Lorraine, I have never been able to get my mutton/lamb curry to taste like a proper durban curry - despite putting the right ingredients, something is always just slightly off. This time I followed your recipe to a tee (and including rombo russi mixed masala) and it turned out perfectly! It was so tasty


Sunday 26th of June 2022

Im so happy to hear that Manika. Sometimes it's just a little twist in the technique that helps:-)


Tuesday 14th of June 2022

Hi, I’m in Canada an was missing some (Chatsworth/)Durban curries. Thanks for the recipe! It is my favourite!


Sunday 26th of June 2022

You're welcome. Glad you could have a taste of home:-)


Tuesday 14th of June 2022

Thanks for sharing, this was so delicious!


Sunday 26th of June 2022

Thank you for trying it:-)


Saturday 11th of June 2022

Made today. Was so quick and easy to do.


Sunday 26th of June 2022

Thank you Zuraida:-)


Saturday 28th of May 2022

Thanks for the great recipe!

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