What’s cooking today: Lamb neck and rib curry

What’s cooking today: Lamb neck and rib curry
Tony Jackman’s lamb neck curry. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Shoulder season weather has the mind turning towards warming fare, not least a good curry packed with spices and not shy on the garlic and ginger.

Curries are not necessarily winter and autumn fare. Consider the temperatures in which the peoples of the subcontinent devour their curries and the number of chillies that go into many of them. They’re for eating when it’s hot, when it’s cold. Any time.

But there is nevertheless something about feeling the chill that makes the idea of a curry very tempting indeed.

Lamb’s neck makes a great meat for a curry, but it needs plenty of slow time in the pot to tenderise.

(Serves 4)


3 Tbsp canola oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

3 or 4 pieces cassia bark or 1 cinnamon stick

8 whole green cardamom pods

2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

2 bay leaves

2 medium white onions, chopped

4 chunky garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 x 3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated

2 or 3 red chillies, deseeded and chopped

1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes and 1 can of water, more if needed

2 Tbsp masala/ curry powder

1 kg lamb neck and ribs, in small pieces

Mint leaves, for garnish


Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven and add all the spices, except the masala, and bay leaves at once. Let them slumber away for a few minutes until you hear the seeds starting to pop.

Add the chopped onions with the garlic and ginger and simmer until the onions are softened.

Add the chillies and the chopped tomatoes, then fill the can with water, and add that. Stir in the masala.

Add the meat and, if the liquid is not enough to cover it, add more water.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle bubble, and cook until the meat is fall-apart tender but not disintegrating. This should take 2 ½ to 3 hours. Garnish with chopped mint. DM/TGIFood

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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