Lamb Shank Curry

What is curry? and, what is lamb shank curry? It can be anything, right? As long as there is a mixture of different spices. There is nothing standard about “curry” and the word is loosely used for any cooking style as long as it has a complex flavour and mixture of dry and wet spices to make the sauce for the main ingredient. It can be a dry dish or a wet dish. If you google the word “curry”, also known as “kari” in Malaysia, it seems to originate from India.

Curry is a dish loved by every Malaysian. It is a staple dish for the Malay, Indian and Chinese. Each has its own flavour and taste based on their traditional style of cooking and preparation and use of spices. There is a variety of curry dishes in Malaysia and they are different from other curry dishes in the world – India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand. Is there a food category that has more variety of dishes than “curry”? I couldn’t think of one. fullsizeoutput_2294

I have never use a lamb shank for my own cooking and for a curry dish. The most commonly meat and cut that I use is either a chicken thigh, pork shoulder and ribs or beef chuck and ribs. The only reason that I have decided to cook lamb shank for the first time was because I saw the price was AUD$10/kg at a local “Halal” butcher shop. The shanks were quite small but very fresh. I bought three pieces of lamb shank, which came to AUD$10.80! I asked the butcher to cut each of the shank in half to make it easier for my cooking.

Main Ingredients

  • 1 kg lamb shanks
  • 3-4 potatoes
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 5 kaffir lime leafs
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anises
  • 3 cloves
  • 150 gm dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup dark caramelised sauce
  • 2 cups tamarind water
  • Spice paste or “rempah” in Malaysia word


Rempah or Spice Paste

  • 3 fresh red chillies
  • 5 dried chillies – pre-soaked until soft
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb size ginger
  • 1 thumb size galangal
  • 1 thumb size turmeric
  • 2 red onions

To make the rempah or spice paste, chop all the ingredients and mix in a blender into a fine paste.


  1. Heat some oil in a deep sauce pan until it is fairly hot
  2. Toss in the dry spices – cinnamon, star anise, cloves. Gently move the spices around in the hot oil until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the spices
  3. Toss in the the wet spice paste “rempah” and lemongrass. Gently stir fry for a few minutes until you can smell the aromatic fragrance released from the spice paste
  4. Add the lamb shanks and mix through with the spice paste until they are well coated
  5. Add the tamarind water. Once boiling, turn down the heat to slow simmer. Add the kaffir lime leafs. Simmer in low heat for 3-4 hours. Add potatoes. Continue to slow cook until potatoes are cooked
  6. While the lamb and potatoes are cooking, dry toast the dessicated coconut in a frying pan until golden brown
  7. Add the toasted dessicated coconut once you are ready to serve the lamb shank curry. Make sure the dessicated coconut is mixed through thoroughly
  8. Ready to serve.
Food, Recipe

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