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 shanks, about 350g each
  • 2 onions, 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 cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 red chillies, 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 potatoes, 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, questions and tips

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4th Mar, 2012
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 :)
4th Mar, 2012
look at the lamb curry with spinich that is nice cooked that for family and for work !!
4th Mar, 2012
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
2nd Mar, 2012
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 :)
25th Feb, 2012
So many different flavours!! Yummy :)
12th Feb, 2012
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.
12th Feb, 2012
Oops forgot to mention the lamb. Very tendar fell away from the bone delish yummy
12th Feb, 2012
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.
30th Jan, 2012
So easy, and so tasty
11th Jan, 2012
I love this recipe, I make it when I want something a little more special. Wouldn't change anything.


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