Lamb Bhuna Recipe

Easy Lamb Bhuna recipe made with homemade Spice blend

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An easy yet authentic version of Lamb Bhuna recipe made with freshly ground homemade spice blend. 

There are many different lamb bhuna recipes that you will find when you google it.

This recipe is made with simple spices that do not require a visit to any Indian store. You can easily find the spices online or in any supermarket.

But I have to admit, that this recipe does need some patience to make.

Not because it is complicated. It is because of the ‘Bhuna’ style or method of cooking.

What Is Lamb Bhuna and What Does  ‘Bhuna’ mean?

Lamb Bhuna is an Indian lamb curry sauteed with spices and tomatoes on low heat.

Traditionally, this dish is called ‘bhuna gosht’ meaning sauteed meat or goat.

‘Bhuna’ is the Indian name for sauteing until brown.

So, what do I mean by sauteing until brown!!???

Does it mean cooking it until the different coloured ingredients all turn brown in colour aka, just before it starts to burn?!!

Well, its something like that, the trick is to prevent it from burning.

The way we do it is to play with the heat applied to the dish.

In a ‘bhuna’ cooking method, the first step is to flavour the oil with whole spices.

This usually follows with sealing the meat on high heat.

Then carry on with the cooking process adding the other ingredients one by one or all together so that the sauce ingredients cling to the meat pieces during cooking.

The combination of adding water, lowering heat, intermittent stirring until the aromatics and spices dry out and waiting for the oil to be released, followed by adding more water and repeating the process until the meat is cooked is bhuna cooking style.

This is where your patience is needed to wait for the water or moisture to dry out and repeatedly add more water and follow the same step.

It is like a game of snakes and ladders! You climb up only to be bitten by a snake, move down again and repeat the whole process until you make it home!!

It may sound all too complicated for you, but this recipe is the simplified version which makes it easier for you to cook Lamb Bhuna at home.

Why Is a Lamb Bhuna RecipeTime Consuming?

Although a relatively easy dish to make, cooking Lamb bhuna does require some patience. The reasons for this are:

The cooking method used :

The bhuna method is a slow sauteed way of cooking, meaning that it requires a decent time to follow the moisture to dry loop style cooking.

The type of meat used:

Red meats such as lamb, goat, pork and beef tend to take time to cook.

While chicken or prawn bhuna tend to cook faster so the time needed to cook is much less.

The quality of meat:

The cooking time of meat depends on the cut and type of meat used.

I have been teaching lamb bhuna to my students on a regular basis. However every class we make it, the cooking duration and the amount of water used vary each time.

There have been times where the meat has come out hard and chewy ( and left me pretty embarrassed) and other times in a melt on the bone texture.

This is due to the uncertainty of the age or cut of lamb used.

Some meat cuts tend to release a lot of water, not requiring additional moisture to be added, while others may need a considerable amount of water and waiting time to cook.

Tips to Cook Lamb Bhuna Faster

Do not let the time-intensive Lamb Bhuna put you off from cooking it at home!

As they say, there is a solution for everything and I have found a way.

It is not any breakthrough sous-vide type invention (although it may help)

The easiest way to reduce the cooking time by half is to pre-cook or post-cook the meat.

Ways to do this is by using one of the following gadgets:

Pressure cooker or Instant Pot

The functions and benefits of using a pressure cooker are many and detailed here so I will not repeat myself.

If you happen to have one you can choose to boil the meat in some water and throw in a mix of bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves and/or cardamon for added flavour.

Pressure cook it for about 8-10 minutes on slow heat and let the steam release naturally.

Take the meat pieces out and follow the cooking method explained in the recipe.

As the meat is already cooked, you do not need to add much additional water that is normally required to cook the meat until tender.

This instantly reduces the time needed to brown the sauce until the meat gets cooked.

The other way of using a pressure cooker is at the end of the sauteing process.

Once you have browned and sauteed the meat,  pressure cook it for 5 minutes on low and then dry out any excess water by continuing to cook it with the lid open.

This will also reduce the cooking time

Slow Cooker Lamb Bhuna

You can also make Lamb Bhuna in a slow cooker.

The method of making it in the slow cooker is even simpler.

Put all the ingredient together and

cook in on high for 6 hours.

Finish off by drying excess water and browning it in an open pan until oil separates from meat.

Pan cooking

You can also precook meat in a normal pan with the added whole spices recommended above.

This will require more water and also take longer to cook than a pressure cooker.

However, you will be guaranteed tender meat chunks that melt in your mouth.

This easy lamb bhuna recipe I share has been made in a normal pan.

Not everyone has a slow cooker or pressure cooker at home. If you follow the stepwise process of making Lamb Bhuna in a pan and make changes accordingly considering the tips shared above you will achieve good results.

Lamb bhuna recipe - Indian lamb curry recipe . How to make Indian lamb bhuna

Cooking Tips and Notes to Make Lamb Bhuna

  1. Use lamb leg meat and cut into bite-size pieces for making lamb bhuna
  2. Use whole roasted spices if available for making the spice blend. it gives the dish a very rustic taste. If you do not have whole spices, use 1 tablespoon each of cumin powder, coriander powder, 1/2 tsp of black pepper powder and 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder to make the spice blend.
  3. Fenugreek seeds in the recipe is optional. Do take care not to burn them in hot oil as they tend to burn very fast and can make the gravy taste bitter.
  4. Add 2 tbsp water from time to time to the dish if you see it catching at the bottom of the pan and stir well.
  5. The amount of water added to the dish depends on how much water has come out of the lamb and how much more the lamb needs to be cooked. So play it by the hear and add water accordingly.
  6. Adding warm water is best to retain maximum flavour.
  7. The amount of chilli powder you add is completely up to your personal and family preference. You can choose not to add any additional whole chillies or chilli powder apart from the one added to the spice blend.

How to Make Lamb Bhuna

Make the Bhuna spice blend 

STEP 1

Dry Roast Bhuna Spices

Heat a pan, add the whole spices and dry roast until fragrant. This should take about 2-3 minutes.

STEP 2 

Bhuna spice blend

Remove from heat, cool and dry into a coarse powder.

Start the Sauteeing process (Bhunoing)

STEP 1

Fry whole spices in oil

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add whole red chillies, cardamom pods or/add fenugreek seeds and let in splutter for 3 secs.

Add 2 tablespoon of the lamb bhuna spice mix and saute for about 40 seconds

STEP 2

Add lamb pices to whole spices

Now add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until translucent, followed by the lamb pieces.

Seal the juice of lamb on high flame and fry for 5 minutes

STEP 3

Sauteeing lamb bhuna recipe

Add ginger-garlic paste to the lamb and continue to saute for 2 minutes.

STEP 4

Add ground spices to lamb bhuna

Add the other powdered spices that is cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and chilli powder(optional)

STEP 5

Sauteeing lamb bhuna

Add 1/2 cup water and cover and cook until oil starts to appear from the sides.

At this point, it is the beginning of checking for the doneness of lamb. Add 1 cup of water again, (depending on how much water the lamb has released and how much more the lamb needs to cook) and salt and continue to cover and cook till ¾ done. The oil should appear to come out of the side of the meat.

STEP 6

Add tomatoes to lamb Add tomatoes and green chillies and cover and cook until the lamb is tender and the gravy thickens while you see a good layer of oil floating on the top and the side of the pan.

STEP 7

lamb cooked in curry

Check for the doneness of the meat and salt. If the lamb still needs to be cooked continue to add water, cover and cook until the meat becomes tender.

Once it reaches the end add another 2 tbsp of the freshly ground roasted spices, a handful of coriander leaves (reserving some to be used for garnish) and cover and cook for the last 5 minutes.

STEP 8 

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with boiled rice or roti.

Here is a short video of the steps to follow for making Lamb Bhuna at home.

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Ingredients

Lamb or any meat – 1 kg, thinly sliced into small pieces
Onions – 2, finely sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Oil – 6 tbsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – A handful
Green Chillies – 2
Tomatoes – 3-4, chopped
Fenugreek seeds (optional) – 1 tsp Or Cardamon - 4 pods
Black peppercorn – 1 tsp
Whole red chilli – 2-4 (depending on heat preference)
Cumin seeds – 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
Cumin powder – 1 ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder (optional, if you prefer it hot) – 1 tsp
* Click to ingredient to choose one

Directions

1
Prepare the Bhuna Spice Blend
2
Heat pan and dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorn and whole red chilli if you wish to add extra heat to the dish.
3
Once roasted, cool the spices and coarsely grind in a mortar and pestle and set aside.
4
Cook the Lamb Sauce with Lamb
5
Heat oil in a pan.
6
In the oil add whole red chillies, cardamom pods or fenugreek seeds and let in splutter for 3 secs or so. Take care not to burn the seeds.
7
Add about 2 tbsp of the roasted bhuna spice blend made earlier and fry for 40 secs.
8
Now add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
9
Next, add the lamb and saute and seal the meat and fry for about 5 mins
10
Now ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes.
11
Once the ginger garlic paste coats the lamb, add the powdered spices that is 1 ½ tsp of cumin powder, 1 ½ tsp of coriander powder, 2 tsp turmeric and chili powder to taste and stir for another 5 mins until the rawness of the spice goes.
12
Add ½- 1 cup of water and cover and cook till the oil separates from the lamb. This should take 8-10 mins.
13
Once the moisture evaporates, continue to cook the lamb well and coat it well with the spices for another 5 minutes.
14
Now add 1 cup of water again, (depending on how much water the lamb has released and how much more the lamb needs to cook) and salt and continue to cover and cook till ¾ done. The oil should appear to come out of the side of the meat.
15
At this point add the tomatoes and green chillies and cover and cook until the lamb is tender and the gravy thickens while you see a good layer of oil floating on the top and the side of the pan.
16
If the gravy becomes to dry add a little water and reduce water to your required consistency.
17
Check for the doneness of the meat and salt. If the lamb still needs to be cooked continue to add water, cover and cook until the meat becomes tender.
18
Once it reaches the end add another 2 tbsp of the freshly ground roasted spices, a handful of coriander leaves (reserving some to be used for garnish) and cover and cook for the last 5 minutes.
19
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with boiled rice or roti.