The Best Goan Lamb Curry

This recipe shows you how make an authentic Goan lamb curry in the style of a wonderful, fiery vindaloo with chilli, garlic and vinegar. This would go really well with these perfect Indian flatbreads!

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I’ve been making a few curries lately. They’ve always been my go to for diverse meals with complex flavours. In my recent chicken korma recipe I discussed the difference between the rich and creamy curries of the Northern parts of India and the much spicier, lighter dishes in the more Southern areas. This lamb shoulder curry will hopefully do justice to the dishes that lie on the spicier end of the spectrum.

When I think of authentic Goan curries, I think of a few very specific things. Firstly, I think of heat. Real heat. Proper big old hits of chilli. Goa was, after all, the introduction point for the Portugese dish that later became the ferocious vindaloo we all know and love. Well, some of us anyway.

Secondly, I think of sourness, which I actually find a far more integral part of the dish than the spiciness that has come to be the dish’s real claim to fame. Returning again to its Portugese origin, the original dish upon which it was based was simply known for the prominence of its sour flavours and the liberal use of garlic.

Thirdly, I think of the associated protein, which tends to be either fish or beef. I’m not sure quite how beef entered the picture here, because India tends to be very light on its beef usage for a variety of religious reasons, but the use of fish is clearly a result of the coastline that runs all the way down the Western side of the area.


About this recipe

What you don’t see a great deal of recipes for is lamb, which is especially strange, given the abundance of lamb elsewhere in the country. Again, it may be a simple case of association or culinary evolution, but it is unusual. That lack of commonality is exactly why I have decided to write the best Goan lamb shoulder curry I know how to write!

My goal here is to create an authentic lamb curry that encapsulates all of those flavours and sings with a wonderful balance between them. I’ve made a lot of spiced dishes over the years and what I learn more and more is how importance that balance is in taking something from being perfectly ok to being genuinely fantastic.

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Goan Lamb Curry – Another of Goa’s beautiful curries. This time a delicious vindaloo style lamb dish!

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Goan lamb vindaloo with coriander

The Best Goan Lamb Curry Recipe

This recipe shows you how make an authentic Goan lamb curry in the style of a wonderful, fiery vindaloo with chilli, garlic and vinegar.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2


  • 400 g Lamb Shoulder
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 Tsp Coriander Powder
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Ginger Paste
  • 2 – 6 Chillies according to taste and type of chilli
  • 1/2 can Tomatoes
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 300 ml Chicken
  • Stock
  • Bay Leaf
  • White Wine Vinegar or optional tamarind
  • Caster Sugar optional


  • In a dry pan, toast the cloves, fennel seeds and cumin seeds on medium heat until the aroma starts to lift, then crush them down in a pestle and mortar. Mix with the cinnamon, garam masala and coriander powder and set aside.
  • Peel the garlic and blend together with any chillies you wish to add, a teaspoon of ginger paste and a few of the coriander stalks, then set aside for later.
  • Dice the lamb shoulder into equal sized pieces, discarding any superfluous fat or trimmings.
  • Season the pieces with salt and fry in a pan on high heat, just to brown the outside. There’s no need to cook through, but no harm in doing so if it occurs naturally. Set that aside and top up the oil in the pan if necessary.
  • Finely dice an onion and drop it into the pan with the heat to medium-low, leaving it to caramelise for 6-8 minutes. Add a pinch of salt early on to help draw out moisture.
  • Increase the heat to medium and place the mustard seeds in with the onion to cook through for a minute or so.
  • Add the ground spices from the pestle and mortar, then cook for another minute, stirring everything together.
  • Finally, add the ginger, garlic & coriander paste and cook for yet another minute.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and cook them off, then then blend everything together (optional), add the stock and reduce the dish down about halfway.
  • Add the meat, the bay leaf and finally the coconut milk, then reduce one last time, this time all the way down to your required thickness. You're looking for a reasonably thick sauce, enough for two people.
  • Adjust your seasoning as required, with either a tsp tamarind paste, a splash of white wine vinegar, a tsp or two of caster sugar or any combination of the three, depending on how sweet or sour you like your dish.
  • You’re ready to plate, garnishing with the coriander leaves or whatever you have available.
Keyword Curry, goan, Lamb, Lamb Curry, vindaloo

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe or have any comments or queries, please do let us know in the comments section below! And don’t forget to like and share!

4 thoughts

    1. Hi Iain, sorry about that – thank you for letting me know! I’ve adjusted the recipe to include the missing pieces and I’ve just tweaked the amount of tomato as well.

  1. Hi Ed
    Step 1 tells you to mix the clove, fennel & cumin in with the ground spices but step 6 tells you to put the cumin & fennel seeds in separately. Should there be a separate amount in the ingredients for the cumin & fennel in step 6?

    1. Hi Jonny. I seem to have muddled myself up all over the place with this recipe, so thank you for catching it! No, it’s just two different approaches to the same thing. You could do either, to be honest, depending on how much you like whole spices (which I do!), but the most straightforward approach would be to powder them up at the beginning and completely ignore what I’ve said about adding them in with the onions. I’ll remove that now!

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