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Recipe: The ultimate curry

A huge amount of spices is needed for this dish

A huge amount of spices is needed for this dish

I love Indian food and feast on it at least once a week but I just haven’t got the cooking down yet. I am comparing myself to my husband who makes the most amazing curries. This is one recipe that I will be taking on.

I have observed that the secret to a great curry is patience and a fundamental understanding of the blending of spices. My husband has lots of his own curry recipes but surprisingly one of the best is from Jamie Oliver’s book ‘The return of the Naked Chef’. The dish is not actually by Jamie Oliver but entitled Peter’s Lamb Curry – not to be confused with our very own Peter.

My ever so talented other half made it for a recent dinner party and it went down so well I was asked to post it here on cheapeats – this is for you Paula. An extraordinary amount of spices goes into to this rich and aromatic dish and it is an undertaking but the results are well worth the time and effort – this is the ultimate curry – I can’t wait to give it a go myself.

Challenge me and reveal your favourite curry recipe.

Peter’s Lamb Curry

Serves eight


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 285ml/½ pint stock or water
  • 1.5kg/3 ½ lb leg of lamb, diced
  • 1 handful of chopped mint and coriander
  • 285ml/½ pint natural yoghurt
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lime juice to taste

Hot and Fragrant Rub Mix

  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • ½ tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 clove
  • ½ a cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Curry Paste Ingredients

  • 5cm/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 tennis-ball-sized red onions, peeled
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 fresh chillies, with seeds
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander


  1. Preheat your oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
  2. Lightly toast the fragrant rub mix in the oven or under the grill.  Chop the curry paste ingredients roughly, add the rub mix and puree in a food processor.
  3. In a large casserole pan, fry the curry paste mixture in the butter until it goes golden, stirring regularly.  Add the tomatoes and the stock or water.  Bring to the boil, cover with kitchen foil and place in the oven for one and a half hours to intensify the flavour.  Remove the foil and continue to simmer on the stove until it thickens.  This is your basic curry sauce.
  4. Fry the lamb in a little olive oil until golden, then add to the curry sauce and simmer for around 1 hour or until tender.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and mint and stir in the yoghurt.  Season to taste and add a good squeeze of lime juice.  Serve with spiced breads, steamed basmati rice and lots and lots of cold beer
  6. Feel free to vary the curry by using diced chicken, prawns or paneer, or vegetables like Swiss chard, spinach, peas, cauliflower, fried aubergine, okra, boiled potatoes, chickpeas or lentils.


  1. I was at this dinner party a few weeks ago and can confirm it was indeed the BEST curry ever. Rercy, didn’t Dave mention he had made it a day or two in advance to help the flavours along?

  2. Re: adding vegetables to curries:

    I always find that sweet potatoes add a certain je ne sais quoi to a curry

  3. He did make it two days in advance for convenience, popped it in the fridge and then reheated it in the oven. It did add to the flavour and gave a richer texture but it’s still delicious done the normal method.

  4. I haven’t added sweet potatoes to curries, it’s not one of those vegetables I don’t usually pick up when shopping but I’ll certainly give it a try.

  5. This just sound great – my husband is not fond of lamb, maybe this will convert him.

  6. The lamb in this dish becomes really tender, it just falls apart – if you want to convert him this is the one to go for.

  7. Sounds fantastic but can i make it with beef or chicken?

  8. Rercy, made the dish 2 days ago, it was a great success. As I mentioned, himself is not very fond of lamb dishes, but this time he wiped the plate clean, and told me that I can serve this to him anytime. He did not even ask what type of meat it was. Thank you! It was fun to make this dish.

    Now, the question is, what to do with the leftover fenugreek seeds? 🙂

  9. Made plenty of different curries over the years but I always come back to this one. I’ve made it with lamb, chicken or sometimes just veg and it’s amazing all ways. With chicken I just cut it up and chuck it in raw for 30 mins.