There’s a piece of lamb shoulder in the freezer waiting to be used and I was contemplating on whether to make a lamb curry or this intriguing lamb stew by Cyrus Todiwala. Well, Lamb Stew with Black Pepper, Coconut and Clove won and I’m very glad to have tried it – it was yummy.. 🙂

IMG_4166 lamb stew with blackpepper coconut cloveBy Cyrus Todiwala from “The Incredible Spice Men”
“This subtle, mellow stew is often cooked in Indian people’s homes and is great for the whole family. It shows how simple dishes of European origin have been adapted and adopted into the cuisine of the subcontinent. As an alternative to lamb, try mutton. The dish can be easily cooked in a pressure cooker or in the oven, while you get on with life – adjust the timings accordingly.”

Preparation time less than 30 mins; Cooking time 1-2 hours; Serves 4-6

  • 1kg boneless lamb shoulder or mutton haunch, well cleaned of all skin, sinew, fat, gristle and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4 x 2.5cm pcs cinnamon stick, discard tiny pieces that break off
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, or more to taste
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, peeled, cut into quarters and sliced
  • 1½ tbsp plain flour
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled, cut into large cubes and boiled until soft


  1. Place prepared lamb or mutton into a casserole dish that has a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns, and enough cold water to just cover meat.
  3. Cover pan tightly (line edge of lid in aluminium foil to increase tightness, if necessary). Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 mins.
  4. Partly uncover pan, allowing steam to escape and liquid to reduce, and continue to simmer on lowest heat for a further hour.
  5. In a separate pan, heat oil and cook onions gently until soft, giving them a good seasoning of salt.
  6. Add flour to onions and stir for 3–4 mins, or till flour is absorbed into oil and is cooked.
  7. Add onion mixture to meat pan and mix well. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10–15 mins, stirring, until well combined and thickened.
  8. Add coconut milk and simmer for a further 30 mins, stirring frequently. Check texture of lamb or mutton: it will go from being quite hard to very tender quite suddenly; this is the point at which the stew is ready.
  9. When meat is tender, add cooked potatoes, and simmer for a minute till potatoes are warmed through.
  10. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  11. Serve with crusty bread or rice and some vegetables.

IMG_4165 lamb stew with blackpepper coconut clove
Recipe Tips

  • As an extra touch, add parsley or coriander before serving. Boiled potatoes could be fried and served on top of stew, perhaps sprinkled with chopped coriander, or some crisp fried curry leaves, which would go well with coconut and spices. You could also add a whole split fresh green chilli to the dish, but the flavour would veer away from the original.


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