Vietnamese lamb shanks with sweet potatoes

Vietnamese lamb shanks with sweet potatoes

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(45 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs

Easy

Serves 4
Meltingly tender and full of classic Asian flavours, these lamb shanks are perfect for freezing

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily halved

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 4 lamb shank, about 350g each
  • 2 onion, halved and cut into half moons
    Onion

    Onion

    un-yun

    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 3 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 2 red chilli, both deseeded, one chopped and one thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar, plus 1 tsp
  • 3 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, then bruised
  • 1.2l lamb stock
  • 1½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 sweet potato, peeled and cut into big chunks
    Sweet potatoes

    Sweet potato

    sweet po-tate-toe

    Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and a sweet-spicy flavour that makes them ideal for savoury…

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
    Fish sauce

    Fish sauce

    A seasoning often used in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. In Vietnam it is usually made from shrimp…

  • juice 2 limes
    Lime

    Lime

    ly-m

    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • big handful mint leaves, torn
    Mint

    Mint

    mi-nt

    There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…

  • handful basil leaves

Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole, season the shanks, then brown them 2 at a time on all sides, adding the remaining oil for the second batch. Remove the lamb and add the onions. Fry them quite briskly, about 30 secs, add the ginger, garlic and chopped chilli, then turn the heat down and cook for 1 min. Add 1 tbsp sugar, stir, then add the star anise, lemongrass, stock, purée and seasoning. Bring to the boil.

  2. Cover and cook in the oven for 1½ hrs, then add the sweet potatoes and cook for 1 hr more. The lamb should be completely tender and almost falling off the bones. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and 1 tsp sugar to just lift the flavour, then scatter with the mint, basil and the sliced chilli to serve.

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Comments, questions and tips

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LVH
28th May, 2016
5.05
An excellent recipe. Lamb was beautifully tender and just about clinging to the bone. I followed it to the letter and my friends who love Vietnamese food gave it a huge thumbs up.
genputtay
21st Feb, 2016
5.05
This recipe is absolutely delicious! I have worked in a Vietnamese restaurant, and always found it difficult to replicate the flavours at home, but this really was a resounding success. I followed the recipe to the letter, and found it to be everything I'd hoped for: hot, sweet and fragrant. I also love the idea of bruising the lemongrass and throwing it in whole, rather than chopping or blitzing it. This way, you don't get any unexpected woody bits, and the flavour infuses beautifully through the dish.
CAFL
28th Oct, 2015
5.05
Easy and a great taste. I made it for 8 people and served with rice. I will definitely make this again. I also used less stock and doubled the lamb and took the lid off for the last half an hour of cooking to thicken sauce.
Claudia 15
25th May, 2015
5.05
this was SO tasty! However, having read some of the other comments and being fond of strong flavours I only used half the meat and only about 700ml of water. Also, didn't add potatoes as we like to eat rice with it which I made separately. Taste was divine!
mjbrawn
8th Mar, 2015
5.05
Simply stunning. A real dinner party hit
Blondie_jd
29th Jun, 2014
This recipe is now one of my all time favourites, I made it for 2, used 2 shanks but kept the other ingredients for 4 people. The flavour was so intense it was absolutely fantastic, I put some butter but squash in at the beginning to thicken the sauce. The meat fell off the bone so I took it the bones out. I probably only used 500ml of stock I also served the sweet potatoes separately. I baked them in tinfoil. The sweetness of the potatoes and the spicy warmth of the lamb.... Wish I had doubled it up so we had left overs.
catmeena
14th Apr, 2014
5.05
Yum! Didn't put in enough chilli, but it was delicious. First time cooking lamb shanks, and using star anise and lemon grass, delighted with the results!
flossydrop
5th Jun, 2013
4.05
Cooked this on Sunday for my Father who loves lamb, ideal as my husband is usually keen but loves asian cuisine. Amazingly my husband loved it and ate every bit. So did my Dad but that is nothing unusual !!! I cooked the lamb for an extra hour and the potato didn't take as long as I expected. I will do this again for a dinner party as so easy being able to tidy up etc while it cooks beautifully in the oven making the house smell gorgeous. I think I might cook it the day before though and just re-heat and add the sweet potatoes in on the day as I am sure the spices will infuse overnight and taste event better. You could add some coconut block for a different taste to the sauce or a little cornflour to thicken as it was quite runny but that didn't bother me. I cooked with rice. A winner for all of us !
boybandsrock
9th Apr, 2013
4.05
Really yummy, partner loved it and so did I - I'm not the biggest fan of meat on the bone. Did half in a casserole and half in a slow cooker; slow cooker experiment has been frozen for later! I would agree with those who suggested cooking for longer - mine seemed quite watery, but still delicious with some sticky rice!
lizleicester
3rd Apr, 2013
5.05
Halved all the amounts for 2 shanks and used chicken stock instead of lamb stock. The result was absolutely delicious.

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Claudia 15
25th May, 2015
5.05
as I like strong flavours (am used to lots of Indian food) and having looked at some of the other comments I did the following: - kept all the ingredients the same except for the meat which I halved - only used about 700ml liquid The resulting taste was just SO jummy.