This Kashmiri Dry Lamb has a wonderful flavour; it is succulent with a crispy exterior.
This recipe for Kashmiri Dry Lamb, was given to me by my mother, who received it many years ago, from a wonderful lady from one of the old households of Kashmir. It was one of her family recipes, passed down through several generations.
The incredibly beautiful region of Kashmir remains divided between three countries; India, Pakistan and China. The cuisine is influenced by three main cooking styles: that of the Kashmiri Pandits (the only remaining Hindu community native to the Kashmiri Valley in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir), the Muslims and the more ancient style of the Mughals.
The economy is centred around agriculture, so the cuisine is rich in flavour and diversity. Warm spices such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon are commonly used, as are fragrant ones such as fennel seeds and saffron. The famous Kashmiri red chillies are a great deal less pungent than other varieties, but add a great depth of taste. A great deal of meat is consumed too, in particular, slow cooked meats, which are often cooked in yoghurt or milk.
Food is usually cooked in Ghee (clarified butter) which adds to the rich flavours. (I have used sunflower oil here, but you could substitute with ghee).
The original recipe for dry Kashmiri lamb uses mutton, but I prefer the milder taste of lamb. Read more about the difference between mutton lamb and goat meat in this article .
I used a leg of lamb cut into small pieces – some pieces are boneless and some on the bone.
The delicious, succulent lamb is aromatically spiced here and has a beautifully crisp browned exterior. The buttermilk tenderizes the meat so it is soft as butter and remains moist after cooking. It is incredibly easy to make.
This is a dry meat dish so it should be cooked till there is no more liquid in the pan.
Serve with warm bread and plain yogurt, or raita.
Kashmiri Dry Lamb
- sunflower oil for frying
- 1 large onion finely sliced
- 1 kg small lamb pieces on the bone leg of lamb or lamb shoulder
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 5 cloves
- 4 whole cardamoms
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground fennel seeds
- 2 whole green chillies broken in half
- 2 whole Kashmiri red chillies or 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- coarse sea salt to taste
for the garnish
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 2 medium white onions finely sliced
- fresh coriander a few sprigs
In a large frying pan over medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the sliced onions. Once golden brown, remove from the pan and set aside.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients (apart from the coriander), add the lamb and simmer on medium-low heat till all the liquid has evaporated (approx. 45 minutes-1 hour). Remove the lamb.
In the same pan, heat at least 2 cms of oil on medium-high heat, reducing to medium-low, and fry the lamb pieces until well browned all over (approx 8 minutes in total). Transfer the lamb to absorbent paper to drain the excess oil.
Garnish with the onions and chopped coriander.
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