What’s cooking today: Coconut lamb and spinach curry

What’s cooking today: Coconut lamb and spinach curry
Coconut lamb curry with spinach yoghurt curry. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Obviate the need for rice, naan or other starch by making a spicy spinach curry to go with a main dish such as this lamb coconut curry.

Those of us lucky enough to grow spinach in abundance have been blessed with a rich harvest this summer. With the season nearing an end, put some of it to work for your nourishment by pairing it with a lamb curry. The two make a wonderful match.


For the lamb:

500 g lamb pieces such as shank, neck, or shoulder

4 Tbsp coconut oil

1 large onion, sliced very thinly

6 to 8 green cardamom pods, whole

1 tsp coriander seeds

2 bay leaves

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 Tbsp masala

1 x 400 g can coconut cream (not coconut milk)

Salt to taste (be generous)

For the spinach:

Plenty of spinach leaves, white core removed, green part shredded

5 heaped Tbsp full fat yoghurt

1 x 3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 scant Tbsp masala (or less, to your taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze of lime juice


Melt coconut oil in a heavy pot, on a low to moderate heat. Add the seeds, cardamom pods and bay leaves. Braise for a couple of minutes but if smoke starts to emit, remove from the heat immediately.

Add the sliced onion and braise until softened and pale golden.

Add lamb pieces and braise for two minutes, then add the coconut cream. Stir in the masala. Salt to taste (curry can take fairly strong salting).

Simmer on a very low heat or in a low oven, covered, for about three hours, until meat is tender, checking frequently to ensure the meat does not catch at the bottom.

In a bowl, stir together the yoghurt, grated ginger, minced (or grated, using a fine grater) garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in 1 scant Tbsp masala.

Wash spinach in clean, cold water. Drain and shake off excess water. Chop off the white core and discard. Shred the green leaves finely.

Put the shredded spinach in a large, deep pot. Cook on a moderate heat, with no additions, until the spinach is wilted. Stir all the while so that all the spinach comes into contact with the bottom of the pot.

Add the contents of the bowl, stir to coat, and simmer until the spinach is tender and the flavours have strengthened. Squeeze in a little lime (or lemon) juice to help hold the colour.

Serve as a side dish to any meat or chicken curry, or a large portion with rice or naan as a meal in its own right. I used it as an accompaniment to this lamb curry, just for a change from the ubiquitous rice. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

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


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