Vietnamese lamb shanks with sweet potatoes

Vietnamese lamb shanks with sweet potatoes

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(45 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs


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



    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



    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • big handful mint leaves, torn



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

  • handful basil leaves


  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 (55)

honeyluv1971's picture

a star of anise is lovely when u put in with duck when cooking the smell is lovely try it with plum sauce and mash and whatever veg you like great dish :)

honeyluv1971's picture

look at the lamb curry with spinich that is nice cooked that for family and for work !!

honeyluv1971's picture

sorry but lamb is lovely but as far as the rest goes its not a cheap dish but i would not recomended to anyone ive tried better dishes that cost less i payed £14 pound just for 3 shanks which is cheap i could of got a leg and had a better dinner, lamb was the best thing about the dish i would not reccomend this dish at all

tiger-ruby's picture

One of the BEST lamb recipes i have ever done - Done it for dinner parties and it always gets fab comments - sooo tasty its on my all time fav's
thank you :)

victoriajlamb's picture

So many different flavours!! Yummy :)

abudhabikatie's picture

Having read all the wonderful reviews, I was really excited about cooking this. But I thought it was a huge disappointment-it didn't taste at all Vietnamese, just like normal lamb shanks with sweet potato and a bit of chilli spice. It was tasty, but not what I was expecting.

angelfiesta's picture

Oops forgot to mention the lamb. Very tendar fell away from the bone delish yummy

angelfiesta's picture

Had this for tea last night after cooking in slow cooker the night befor. Halved ingredients as just cooking only one shank. Had to alter recipe slightly as tesco didn't have fresh lemongrass, star anise and fish sauce. used lemongrass from a jar, 1tsp chinese 5 spice and soy sauce. Served with mashed potato, carrots and fine green beans. Delish, sauce thickened up on hob lovely. Was very spicy maybe used too much 5 spice. Will make again when I find correct ingredients. Sure will make many times.

croady's picture

So easy, and so tasty

luby12's picture

I love this recipe, I make it when I want something a little more special. Wouldn't change anything.

spratt28's picture

Making this again as delicious

mintylam's picture

Have cooked this several times - really easy and always an incredibly tasty result - each time all that is left are the lamb shank bones :o) The only thing I would say is it's best not to leave the sweet potatoes for an hour (of course depending on 'chunk" size) but generally 35-45mins is plenty

gcamuk's picture

Simple, this recipem is the bo**ocks, tonight was the second time I cooked it for friends and it was just as good as the first, get this bad boy cooked and you won't look back...

lulabellamozarella's picture

Smelt absolutely beautiful in the oven, but the end result was a bit of a disappointment. The lamb needed longer in the oven and I would advise using a better cut of lamb as the quality of the shank meat wasn't great... There was too much stock so the juice was all runny and didn't stick to the lamb as I would have liked. The star anise have a beautiful aroma though and I will use them in my cooking more. This recipe kept me entertained for a short while and made a nice change but I won't be making it again.

thehungrymouse's picture

Absolutely Gorgeous!! I did slow cook mine too, four hours in total. The meat fell off the bone and the flavour is truely something quite special. You wont regreat cooking this. Will be making it again!

banoffeepie's picture

This is sooooo delicious. I have made it several times now and have started to add butternut squash and aubergine. Last time I made it, I added puy lentils. Freezes beautifully. :-)

cocoabean's picture

Anyone know how long it would take to cook the lamb in a slowcooker on low?

princessdaisy's picture

Yummy yummy yummy,really quick and easy with lovely depth of flavour. I finshed mine on the top of the stove to reduce the sauce down abit. Served with brown rice and fine beans. Don't skimp on the finishing herbs as thet really help to balance the flavours. I used palm sugar instead of soft brown.

supershaz30's picture

This is a fantastic dish. I've cooked it many times and do agree with cooking it slowly. I left out the fish sauce due to allergies. A wonderful meal that's well worth the effort.

joanneeland's picture

This is a beautiful dish. Made it in my slow cooker over about 8 hours and served it to friends for a casual dinner with rice. Very easy to do in advance and the flavours were so good, even better the next day. I've got one stashed away in the freezer for a rainy day as well. I'll do this one again and again!


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