Lamb Pasanda

Lamb Pasanda
From Wrote 

This past January was a roller coaster of highs and lows.  First, the University of Wisconsin, John’s alma mater, made the Rose Bowl and his parents bought us tickets to Pasadena for the game as a Christmas gift – big high!  Then, they lost.  Ummm, yeah, low.  But then…we discovered our new favorite Indian dish at a hole-in-the-wall Indian joint in West Hollywood – high!  You see, in John’s post-loss depression and our general fatigue after walking what felt like miles to get to and from the game, we went out in search of dinner close to our hotel and at a restaurant unlikely to be packed with gloating Oregon fans.  As with most excellent Indian restaurants, the menu was pretty much unintelligible to English speakers such as ourselves, so we asked the server for recommendations.  He suggested lamb pasanda, and next thing we knew we had [almost] forgotten about the loss in our delight!  We haven’t been able to find it on a lot of menus back home, so it was time to take matters into our own hands.  It was our first time cooking lamb, and it was definitely a success – braising makes it super tender and of course juicy and flavorful thanks to the great sauce that it simmers in.  It’s great over rice, but if you can find garlic naan at your grocery store (we got ours at Whole Foods), it’s really a home run combo.


  • 1.25 lbs boneless lamb shoulder or leg
  • 1 Tbsp of garlic paste
  • 1 Tbsp of ginger paste
  • 4 Tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 3 large onions, diced
  • 3 fresh green chilies, deseeded and diced
  •  3 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Paprika, to taste
  • Toasted sliced almonds, to taste
  • 2 cups rice, cooked, for serving
  • 4 pieces of [garlic] naan, for serving


  1. Cut the meat into thin slices, place between sheets of cling film and tenderize with a rolling pin until flattened out. Rub the garlic and ginger pastes into the meat and leave to marinate for 2 hours or so.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and chilies, cover and fry until golden brown and caramelized (about 20-30 minutes).
  3. Remove the lid and add the cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and tumeric and stir in for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the lamb to the onion mixture and cook until the meat is browned.
  5. Stir in the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 40 minutes.
  6. Combine the ground almonds and heavy cream in a bowl.  When the meat is tender, add a few tablespoons of hot juices from the pan to loosen the cream.
  7. Add the salt and garam masala.
  8. Gradually add the heavy cream and almond mixture to the pan and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. Serve over rice and/or naan and sprinkle with almonds and paprika.

Serves 4.

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