Punjabi Hotpot

One Pot Curry 

‘Your uncle’s been cooking.’

The glee in my auntie Lorena’s voice reflected the joy of her taste buds. Although a superb cook herself, she adores my uncle Albert’s kitchen know-how. Together they’ve experienced the vigour and rigour of immigration and fed countless party guests and family members. Throughout this there’s one thing that remains consistent – whatever the time of day, there’s always a pot of something on the stove. It could be as simple as everyday daal, aloo ghobi or a silky chicken recipe. However, there’s one dish that’s a staple favourite, and its earthy, warm, home-coming smell tells a story of lamb that has been braised with smashed spices, allowing its nutritious bone juice to flavour the citrusy coriander seeds and temper the fight in the green chillies. The late addition of tinned spinach leaves (try not to be a food snob here – I’ve tried it with fresh leaves and the tins produce a warmer result), left to simmer, delivers a hot pot that needs no other accompaniment other than some flatbread.

This lamb and saag curry's roots lie in the meat-eating Punjab. It’s a handy number to try out as it’ll keep for a couple of days, providing sustenance for impromptu guests or employed simply to satisfy the demands of a hungry family.

Serves 4–6

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg lean lamb, some on the bone, cut into 4cm chunks (you can use boneless lamb but I think meat on the bone is far tastier)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 green chillies, chopped
  • 6cm fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 240g tinned tomatoes
  • 350ml water
  • 240g tinned spinach
  • 2 tsp garam masala 
  • Big bunch of fresh coriander
  • Salt
Punjabi hotpot

How To Make Lamb & Saag Curry

Using a large pan, heat 2 tbsp oil to a medium-high temperature and brown the lamb all over. It should relinquish some nice meaty juices. Remove the meat, add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the onions until brown. Add the garlic and chillies and grate in the ginger, then stir in the cumin, coriander, paprika and turmeric, and fry for 3–4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and pop in the meat along with the water. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil for a couple of minute. Reduce the heat, season with some salt, cover and simmer for 1½ hours or until the meat is succulently tender.

Tip in the spinach and garam masala and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve with a flourish of coriander and demolish with a side of carrot sabzi

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Could you give me advice on the best cut of lamb on the bone please for this recipe. I was thinking maybe shoulder?.
Can’t wait to cook this, it looks delicious!.

By Angela on February 01, 2017

UR icon

Hi Angela
Great to hear you’re looking to try this recipe out, if you’ve got an Asian butchers nearby then they’ll typically chop a leg of lamb up for you. However, if you’re using a supermarket/local butcher then neck fillet will work really well.
Do let me know how you get on.

By Urban Rajah on February 01, 2017

Oh great. Thank you, I do have an Asian Butcher nearby.
Spending time cooking it on Thursday ready to eat for Friday (if we can hold out that long!) I’ll let you know how it goes.

By Angela on February 02, 2017

I have finished cooking and oh my goodness… this not only looks amazing but is so tasty!!.
I’m serving it tomorrow for a family meal but will be doing this for friends too in the future.
I would like to thank you for sharing your recipes and fascinating family stories in your book I received for Christmas, which sits firmly on a shelf in my Kitchen so I can look through it often. These are exactly the kind of recipes I’ve been searching for, for years!.
My family are going to love this.

By Angela Okell on February 02, 2017

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