Maunika Gowardhan’s slow-cooked lamb and chickpea curry recipe

This recipe is one of my favourites. Traditionally, it is made with minced lamb but I use boneless leg of lamb for texture and depth, as well as additional bones from my butcher, to add flavour to the gravy. But you can leave the bones out if you wish.

lamb and chickpea curry
Sam Harris


4 garlic cloves
5cm ginger root, roughly chopped
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 dried bay leaves
4 cloves
4 green cardamom pods, whole
250g white onions, thinly sliced
2 green bird’s-eye chillies, slit lengthways
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1⁄2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
200g tomatoes, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp tomato purée
600g boneless leg of lamb, cut into bite-sized chunks
500ml water
1 tsp sugar
Salt, to taste
200g tinned, drained chickpeas
1⁄2 tsp garam masala
Chopped coriander, to garnish
Red onion, finely chopped, to serve
Juice of 1⁄2 lime

  1. In a blender, whiz the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste, then set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the bay leaves and whole spices and, as they begin to sizzle, add the white onions. Fry for 12-14 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger paste, along with the green chillies, and fry for a few seconds, then add the ground coriander, cumin and chilli powder and stir well. Add the tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add a splash of water if it is sticking to the base. Add the tomato purée and stir well.
  4. Now add the lamb and stir to coat in the spices, sealing the meat for 5-6 minutes. Add the water and sugar and season to taste. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  5. Add the chickpeas, cover and continue cooking for 20-25 minutes. Stir a couple of times to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the garam masala, fresh coriander and onion. Turn off the heat and serve warm, sprinkled with lime juice.

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