Make this lamb shank Bihari, then check out our lamb shank rogan josh, lamb bhuna, lamb dhansak and more lamb curry recipes.

This recipe uses ghee - for advice on purchasing this ingredient, read our guide on what is ghee and where to buy it.


  • 2 tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 4 small lamb shanks
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cornflour


  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 10 pods cardamom
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • grated to make ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder


  • a thumb-sized piece ginger, shredded
  • a handful of leaves coriander
  • 1 green chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, wedged
  • naans, to serve


  • STEP 1

    To make the nihari masala, tip all of the whole spices into a dry frying pan and toast for 1-2 minutes or until smelling fragrant. Tip into a spice grinder with the nutmeg, ground ginger and chilli powder, and whizz to a powder.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the ghee in a large casserole and fry the onions with a pinch of salt over a medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelise. Tip in the garlic and ginger pastes, shanks, nihari masala, ground turmeric and a big pinch of salt. Fry for a few minutes, tossing everything to coat, then pour in 1.5 litres of water.

  • STEP 3

    Bring to a simmer, reduce to a gentle bubble, then put on the lid and simmer gently for 2 hours, then remove the lid and cook for another 2 hours until the lamb is meltingly tender.

  • STEP 4

    Combine the cornflour with a little cold water then tip into the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes until thickened slightly.

  • STEP 5

    Spoon the shanks into four shallow bowls and ladle over plenty of the gravy. Sprinkle over some of the shredded ginger, coriander and green chilli. Serve with lime wedges and naans.


Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor

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