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Indian spiced lamb shanks

Written By Reena on 4 Feb 2012 | 05:00

I have a love-hate relationship with winter;  I love crisp winter days when the sky is clear blue and I can tromp around the village in my mittens and ear muffs but I hate the fact that I can't seem to get warm again afterwards.  I find myself actually sitting against a piping hot radiator and still coming away with cold hands;  My DNA was obviously not designed with this climate in mind!

This incredibly easy lamb shank recipe is the perfect comfort food for the cold weather that has descended on us this week.  The lamb is slow-cooked until it is falling off the bone while the spices, tomatoes and shallots combine to create a rich, dark sauce.  The shanks are really good served with creamy mashed potato and crisp green beans to contrast with the stickiness of the lamb. 

Wine suggestions from Kevin at halfwine.com
"Really ripe tomatoes and shallots should add a touch of sweetness to this dish. In addition to the old stalwarts mentioned in previous recipes,  I think that a Merlot which goes well with lamb in other cuisines would broaden your experience in matching wine and curries.  The Merlot needs to be well ripened though to bring out its sweetness so it has to be from the 'New World'.  In our range the New Zealand Craggy Range Merlot would fit the bill nicely."

Serves 2
Preparation: 30 minutes
Approximate cooking time: 2 hours

  • 2 tablespoons light tasting vegetable oil
  • 2 lamb shanks - washed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 shallots - peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 1 green chilli - finely chopped
  • 1 small cinnamon stick (approximately 4cm in length)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 400 grams canned tomatoes - chopped
  • 0.25 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander cumin powder
  • 500 millilitres chicken stock
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade.
  2. Heat the oil over a high heat in a large ovenproof dish (choose one that has a lid).
  3. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides.
  5. Remove the shanks and leave to one side.
  6. Add the shallots to the oil and brown them.
  7. Now turn down the heat and add the garlic, green chilli, cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise.  Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add the tomatoes, chilli powder, garam masala. coriander-cumin powder and 0.5 teaspoon salt.  Stir well and leave the mixture to cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Now add the chicken stock and stir again.
  10. Put the lamb shanks back in the pot.  Place a lid on the pot and bring the contents to the boil.
  11. Place the pot (with the lid still on) in the oven for 50 minutes.
  12. Turn the lamb shanks over, put the lid back on the pot and return to the oven for another 50 minutes.
  13. Now turn the lamb again.  Reduce the heat to 150 degrees centigrade and leaving the lid off cook for a further 20 minutes or until the lamb is falling away from the bone.
  14. Serve immediately with mashed potato.

About Reena


  1. Reena!!!! I love the rich dark moodiness of your photo and the recipe hits all the right spice notes to go with Kevin's Merlot recommendation.

    Makes a winter night's dish a delight.

  2. Hi Robin. Glad you liked the photo. I was concerned it was too dark but you've made me feel better about it now! All the best. Reena

  3. Yum, similar to how I do shanks, great photo.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to comment Debs and Mama's Gotta Bake.

  5. this looks gorgeous! thanks for sharing. i will subscribe to your blog. feel free to pop over and say hi sometime x


  6. Thanks Scrambledmegs. I hope you give the recipe a go. See you in cyberspace. Reena

  7. Wow - makes my mouth water. I have tried Lamb shank dishes before, but they have been more "curried" and served with rice. Will definitely try your version. Any suggested alternatives to rice or mash potato?

    p.s. The photograph is amazing - really does help to make the mouth water!

  8. Hi Indian Restaurant Rugby. I think lots of green vegetables would go well with it to stop it being so rich. Let me know what you think. Thanks for the comment. I'll stop by the restaurant if I'm ever in Rugby. Reena

  9. Gorgeous shanks! From the photo and list of ingredients I almost taste it.

    I love the bowl that you used in the photo too (I need more bowls like that!)

  10. Thanks Rochelle! I got the bowl in Egypt - super cheap but very cool. All the best. Reena

  11. delicious dish!...with beautiful picture...

  12. Thanks Reena. Btw - you have a lovely name ;-0