Jess from Nook shares another of her wonderful recipes with us:

‘Growing up, I remember my parents and their friends hosting curry potluck dinner parties.  And the usual suspects would always be present.  Sliced banana, desiccated coconut, Mrs Balls Chutney.’

‘Luke loves curry, so we often make it at home.  We even built a makeshift tandoori oven once using bricks on top of a Weber.  A regular customer of ours learned about Luke’s passion and gave him a cookbook dedicated to Indian curries. 50 Great Curries of India is the best book you can buy if you want to produce magical curry dishes.  It offers you recipes from across the Indian provinces, each with their own unique cooking techniques and regional ingredients. It also includes chapters on defining a curry to the use of spices, to salads and side dishes.’

‘This recipe comes from Lucknow region. I love it for its thick rich gravy and the fact that it is not particularly spicy but rather aromatic from all the fragrant spices used.  And the rose and saffron just adds another dimension of marvel.’


  • A few strands of saffron
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • 100ml ghee / cooking oil
  • 500g onions, thinly sliced
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 4 green chillies, chopped
  • 4 cinnamon or bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 3 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 1 cup full fat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon mace powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder (or 5 cardamom seeds, crushed)
  • juice of 1 lime


  1. Soak the saffron in the rosewater for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Heat half the ghee or oil in a large pot or casserole, and fry the onions until medium brown.  Add the almonds and continue to cook until the onions are deep brown.  Using a spatula, extract the oil from the onions by pressing them against the side of the pot.  Transfer the onions and nuts to a bowl and leave to cool.  Place in a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. In the remaining oil brown the lamb shanks and set aside.  Add the green chillies, cinnamon or bay leaves, ginger, garlic, coriander powder and half the garam masala powder to the pot and cook on a medium low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat to low, add the red chilli powder and the yogurt, stirring continuously for 3 minutes, and leave to simmer until the yogurt is absorbed.
  4. Add the fried onion puree and mix well.  Add the remaining garam masala, the mace and cardamom powder and saute’ for a couple of minutes.  Add 1 litre water and stir to combine.   Place a fitted lid onto the pot or casserole (or use foil) and into the oven at 170 degrees celcius.  Cook until the meat is tender, anywhere between 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Before transferring to a serving dish, stir in the lime juice and the saffron in the flower water.

Note:  other cuts of lamb can be used instead of shanks, such as knuckles