Curried pulled lamb

Curried pulled lamb

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 4 hrs plus a few hrs marinating and overnight chilling

More effort

Serves 6 - 8
This meltingly tender shoulder of lamb can be cooked in stages over a few days - serve as the centrepiece for an Indian feast for friends

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving (8)

  • kcal477
  • fat35g
  • saturates15g
  • carbs6g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre1g
  • protein34g
  • salt0.3g
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  • 2kg shoulder of lamb
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 2 onions, sliced



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

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 100g natural yogurt

For the spice paste

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped (deseeded if you don’t like it too hot)
  • 1 tsp turmeric



    Turmeric is a fragrant, bright golden-yellow root that is most commonly seen and used dried and…

  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander

To serve

  • coriander leaves
  • mint leaves
  • chopped green chilli (deseeded if you don’t like it too hot)
  • chapatis


  1. Up to 2 days before the meal, tip all the spice paste ingredients into a mini chopper or small food processor with a splash of water and a pinch of salt. Blitz until smooth. Lightly score the lamb a few times on all sides and rub about a third of the paste all over. If you have time, cover the lamb and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, and chill the remaining paste.

  2. The day before you want to eat the lamb, heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a casserole or flameproof roasting tin that is big enough to fit the lamb snugly. Add the onions, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves to the hot oil and cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and starting to brown. Sprinkle over the sugar and splash in the vinegar, then sizzle for 1 min. Tip in the remaining curry paste and cook everything for 1 min until aromatic.

  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 min more, then stir in 200ml water and the yogurt. Season with salt and bring everything to a simmer. Nestle the lamb into the sauce and spoon over some of it. Cover the pan with a lid or tightly with foil and place in the oven for 3 hrs until the lamb is really tender. Leave the lamb to cool in the sauce, then lift it out and tip the sauce into a container – cover both and chill in the fridge overnight.

  4. On the day you want to eat the lamb, heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the lamb on a shallow roasting tin, brush with the remaining oil and roast in the oven for 40 mins until nicely browned. While the lamb is roasting, scoop off and throw away the solidified fat from the sauce, then tip the sauce into a saucepan and simmer for 10 mins until thickened, and season to taste. Blitz the sauce with a hand blender until reasonably smooth, then reheat in the pan. Serve the lamb on a board, with the sauce for spooning over, and the coriander, mint, chillies and chapatis on the side.

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Comments, questions and tips

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1st Jul, 2018
A bit of a faff but it turned out lovely for our works BBQ so worth it if you have the time.
26th Feb, 2018
This was delicious and definitely worth the work. Was a big hit with the family. Made with the spicy chips, kachumber and mint and cucumber raita. Defo be making this again.
26th Dec, 2017
Lovely receipe. I halved the amount of lamb as there was only two of us but kept the same amount for the sauce.
19th Sep, 2015
Wow - highly recommended! Wasn't sure I'd enjoy this recipe, as I'm not a fan of big meat joints, but other half spotted it and fancied the idea for a change so thought we'd give it a go. As it was just for the 2 of us, we halved the weight of meat, but as we like spice, we kept the full quantities of the other ingredients - and we were glad we did as after the long roasting time there wasn't much left in the bottom. Having said that, with some added liquid (extra yoghurt and water) and blitzed, it made a wonderfully tasty curry sauce to go over the meat. The lamb itself was melt in the mouth tender - perfect. We had leftovers the following day with rice. As per the Sept 15 magazine article, we served it with the a Tomato Kachumber, plus Cucumber and mint relish and both were lovely accompaniments, and made our our rotis (it says to serve with chapatis). We didn't have any large potatoes to make the Indian oven chips, but did have some baby new potatoes, so put the same spice coating on them and they worked all. Overall, a really lovely different meal, which would be perfect as a centre piece to share with good friends. We will make a again - would make a lovely dinner between Xmas and New Year when you've had enough of roast turkey but still have family staying. Just make sure you are organised as you do need to start the stages at least a day ahead, even though none of it is very arduous.
13th Sep, 2015
I came on to this website looking for a courgette bread---and saw this featured yesterday and couldn't move past the recipe. such an unusual flavor for pulled meat recipe-- I had taken a 2kg pork shoulder to make a pulled pork but decided to sub the pork in the recipe. and what a wonderfully flavorful recipe! the curry sauce was gorg and so simple to make. the children (age 6 and 4) both loved the pork as did a 6 yo neighbor. Other subs include: 400g of crushed tomatoes as didn't have fresh and had only a pot of 125 mango yogurt, not plain. this recipe is delicious w pork and I highly recommend!
13th Sep, 2015
Firstly can I say I came onto this website looking for a courgette bread to make...and wound up making this wonderful recipe! Such a different way for pulled meat to be served. I have to say I don't like lamb so used a 2kg shoulder of pork but followed recipe otherwise and this is so delicious! The children loved the pork and even a neighbour invited herself for tea based on the smell coming from the oven. Try this recipe you will not be let down. I only used 2 days to make (didn't marinade) figuring the 3 hrs slow cook would help w flavour. Although did leave overnight and what a flavour... 5 stars!
10th Sep, 2015
Made a start on this yesterday, the kitchen smells absolutely devine and it's just marinating!
25th Nov, 2017
Hi there - can you let me know if the shoulder of lamb should be on the bone, or boned? Thanks.
goodfoodteam's picture
27th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your question. It's on the bone.
6th Jun, 2017
Hi there, I'm having an Indian inspired dinner party the weekend after next and would like to freeze this prior to cooking it on the final day. Do you know if I can freeze this at the end of stage 3? Ta very much, Jan
goodfoodteam's picture
14th Jun, 2017
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can freeze it aafter step 3. Thoroughly defrost and then reheat as described.
3rd Mar, 2017
Hi there, I slow cooked my bit of lamb last night and left it to cool, but now I worry that it isn't slow cooked enough. The meat is starting to pull apart but the fat hasn't melted and the skin is still quite tough. Should I re-slow roast it, leave it to cool again and then roast it without the foil before my guests arrive tonight? Or does the final roast help to clear the fat? Thanks!
goodfoodteam's picture
4th Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question. If you've followed the recipe then your lamb will be absolutely fine. The fat will render in the final cook and you can scoop it away. We would not recommend re-roasting it.
24th Dec, 2016
Can I do the lamb in a crockpot/slow cooker? i have settings of 4 hrs or b6 hours- high or 8 hrs & 10 hrs low. would 8 hrs work? please respond
21st Dec, 2016
Hi We are doing this for christmas day instead of the usual Turkey. Mainly because we now live in USA and we have only just celebrated Thanksgiving with Turkey. We did not want it again and the 4 of us could not agree on a roast.I've been meaning t do this recipe for some time and well... now is the time! My question is, and it may seem silly but when you say a pan big enough to fit lamb snugly, do we actually have to have a snug fit for the dish to work best or can the pan be bigger?
goodfoodteam's picture
24th Dec, 2016
Thanks for your question. Ideally the lamb will fit in snugly as this will cook the meat nicely in the volume of liquid specified. However, if you don't have the right size, don't worry, a bit bigger will be fine. If the liquid is looking a bit sparse, add in a little more water and yogurt (not too much or the sauce will become diluted), and make sure the lamb is well sealed in, you can press foil the down over the lamb as well as a lid if you have one to reduce the space in a roomy pan. Enjoy your Christmas meal!
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