Authentic South African Recipe
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.
Durban Style Lamb Curry
- 500 gram lamb on the bone is best
- 80 ml vegetable oil
- 1 onion cut in quarters and thinly sliced
- 2 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)
- 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. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, 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.