Slow-cooked lamb curry with a rich and delicately spiced coconut curry sauce. Minimal effort with loads of flavour.
The perfect belly-warming slow-cooked curry for when the cold weather starts drawing in.
I often make curries using chopped up beef or chicken, but this one is made using a whole lamb shoulder.
What is the best cut of lamb for a curry?
I recommend using Lamb that is on the bone. Using Lamb on the bone gives the curry such a wonderful flavour and, after slow cooking, you get that amazing tender fall apart meat.
Cooking the curry slowly with the meat on the bone, means you get SO MUCH flavour in the sauce.
I'm using a lamb shoulder for this recipe but you could also use a half shoulder of lamb (for a small curry), a leg of lamb or lamb shanks.
How to Make this Slow Cooker Curry
We start by searing the lamb with a little oil. If your slow cooker has a searing function like my crockpot (<-- affiliate link), you can do it right in the slow cooker. If not, you can do this bit in a large frying pan (skillet) over a high heat. Once it's seared on all sides, add a diced onion around the sides of the lamb and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add in garlic, ginger, salt, garam masala, curry powder, paprika and cinnamon and stir together. Then add in chicken stock or lamb stock and a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Next in goes tomato puree and a little sugar, then a tin of coconut milk and 6 cardamom pods (check out the video to see my tip on sewing the cardamom pods together for easy retrieval later). Stir it all up and cook on high for about 5 hours, or low for about 8 hours.
After that time, remove the lamb and pull all the meat of the bone. Shred it with two forks. Remove the cardamom pods too.
I like to remove some of the fat from the slow cooker, and then stir in a little cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce slightly. Add the lamb back in and stir it all together.
BTW, If you love this slow cooked lamb, try my slow-cooked Lamb Barbacoa carnitas.
The very first time I made this curry (about 4 years ago), I remember how quickly it was gobbled up. And when I say gobbled up, I mean practically inhaled. Chris and I actually had to have a word with the kids about their shocking lack of table manners (both kids and table covered in curry sauce!!).
We threatened to send Gracey to finishing school – which, instead of a punishment, she found really exciting. Then we had to break it to her that she wouldn’t be going to finishing school.
Don’t you just hate it when punishment threats backfire? Like when you threaten them with no telly, and you regret that hour of peace later on when they’re covering every carpet in the house with toys whilst yelling at each other?
She was so gutted that we ended up creating our own finishing school at home. Cue two children walking around with books on their heads and sticking their little fingers out whilst drinking pretend tea.
I thought that was going to be the end of it, until Gracey requested a ‘proper posh meal with lots of knives and forks’. I’m such a sucker for that kind of thing, I actually agreed!
So that resulted in us making a 7-course dinner with us all dressed up to the nines, drinking wine (ok, ginger ale) and enjoying the entertainment (Lewis’ robot dancing).
Great fun, but a million times more effort than this crockpot curry. I've since been much happier to put up with two grubby children and a table cloth covered in orange-coloured-sauce spots when I make it…..
The Lamb Curry Video:
Slow Cooked Lamb Curry Recipe
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lamb shoulder - weighing approx 1.5kg (3 ⅓ pounds)
- 1 large onion - peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - peeled and minced
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock - water plus a stock cube or bouillon for gluten free is fine
- 400 ml tin (14 oz) of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree/paste
- 2 tsp sugar
- 400 ml (14 oz) coconut milk
- 6 cardamom pods - sew them together with a piece of string so you can easily fish them out later
- 3 tbsp cornflour(cornstarch) mixed with 6 tbsp cold water
- Handful of chopped coriander (cilantro) to serve
- Boiled rice - to serve
- Preheat your slow cooker to high.
- Heat the oil in a large pan (or your slow cooker pot if it can be used on the hob), add in the lamb and sear until lightly browned on all sides (about 6-8 minutes).
- Add in the onion and cook for a further 5 minutes until the onions have softened.
- Add in the garlic, ginger, salt, garam masala, curry powder, paprika and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the stock, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, coconut milk and cardamom pods.
- Stir then pour into your slow cooker and cook for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
- At the end of the cooking time, remove the lamb and place on a chopping board.
- Spoon off some of the excess fat that has risen to the top (it's a good idea to leave a bit, as it enhances the flavour of the curry). Remove the cardamon and discard.
- If want to thicken the sauce a little, slowly pour in the cornstarch and water mixture whilst stirring - until the sauce is thick enough.
- Shred the lamb with two forks and place the meat back in the slow cooker. Give it a stir to cover in the sauce.
- Serve over boiled rice sprinkled with some coriander (cilantro)
This post was first published in August 2015. Updated in September 2019 with new photos, video, tips and a couple of recipe improvements. Updated in Oct 2020 with extra info and for housekeeping reasons.
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