Cape of Good Hope

24th Aug 2020

Curried karoo lamb shanks with sambals

This recipe yields an incredibly fragrant and thick Cape Malay-style curry sauce that works very well with the fall-apart shanks. There’s no need to brown the meat first, because it is braised in the oven without a lid and will get ample roasted colour and flavour there.


60 ml olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
15 ml garam masala
15 ml medium curry powder 15 ml fennel seeds
5 ml ground cumin
5 ml ground turmeric

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped/grated
a knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped/grated (about 2 tablespoons)
30 ml tomato paste
3 large tomatoes, diced
500 ml water
salt & pepper
4 whole medium lamb shanks


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. In a large wide heavy-based pot (30cm works well) that can also go into the oven, add the oil over mediumheat on the stove top. Add the onions, cinnamon sticks and cloves, and fry until the onions are soft and


  3. Add the garam masala, curry powder, fennel seeds, cumin, turmeric, garlic and ginger. Fry for 1-2 minutes,stirring, then add the tomato paste and fry for another minute.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and water, stir to combine, and season with salt & pepper. Add the shanks, spoonsome of the sauce over it, and season the meat with salt & pepper. When it reaches a simmer, put a lid on

    and transfer the pot to the oven and braise for 1 hour.

  5. Remove the pot from the oven, turn the meat over using tongs, remove the lid and return to the oven foranother hour.
  6. Test to see if the meat is almost falling from the bone. If it still needs some time, replace the lid and braisein the oven for another 15-30 minutes until very tender.
  7. Serve hot with cooked rice or naan bread and sambals like spiced minted raita, tomato and red onion salsa,fresh coriander and coconut.


Note: For a more creamy and runny sauce, stir in some yoghurt or coconut milk towards the end of the cooking time.

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