Malai Lamb

Mughlai Lamb

Hmmm lamb and cream, not necessarily natural partners but like Elton John and Eminem doing a duet somehow it works. The outcome of this Malai (cream) Lamb recipe is a silky smooth tender dish, which is meltingly good. The cream clings to the lamb (I use mutton) like a Strictly Come Dancing partner and yet it’s deeper than a Stephen Hawking theory. If you can’t get hold of mutton then use boneless lamb shoulder instead or goat, the flavour is gorgeously intense and for me it’s reminiscent of a Kashmiri repertoire touched by a Mughal influence. Whilst the ingredient list may initially create a little inertia it’s a straightforward recipe involving a simple marinade then a pot boil and that’s it. Serve this Malai Lamb with some crushed nuts over the top and a flourish of fresh coriander.

Serves 4-6


  • 1 kg mutton
  • 350ml double cream
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 thumb freshly grated ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt

Cooking Masala

  • 3tbs sunflower oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Water
  • Freshly crushed nuts e.g. pistachios, almonds
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped to garnish
Malai Lamb

How To Make Malai Lamb

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients together, coating the mutton thoroughly, cover in a bowl and refrigerate the contents for a few hours or overnight. Remove and leave at room temperature for an hour before cooking (still covered).
  • Using a large stock pot, heat the oil over a medium temperature, add the bay leaves, cinnamon quill, cardamom pods and dried chillies, cook for a couple of minutes until the pan smells fragrant then pop in the onions and sauté until they start to brown.
  • Now add the marinated ingredients into the pan and turn up the heat to high and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so until the mutton has browned. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for an hour, keep an eye on the pan and stir from time to time making sure the mutton doesn’t stick to the bottom. If it does, add a little water to keep things fluid but not too runny.
  • Pop in the ground cumin, coriander powder, garam masala and salt for seasoning. Cook for another 30 minutes, still stirring now and then and adding water when required. Remove the lid and cook for another 20 minutes or so until the mutton is tender and easily tears apart. The masala sauce should be thick, smooth and reduced. Remove from the heat cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes,

Serve with a scattering of crushed pistachios or almonds and a fluttering of coriander leaves, tastes great with a portion of lemon rice.

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