This is, quite simply, an exquisite dish. It has no sauce. The meat cubers are almost like kebabs, except that they are cooked in a saucepan. This is the non-pressure-cooker version, but see notes if you have a pressure cooker.

In India, this is made with goat meat. In the West, I tend to make it with boned pork shoulder cut into kebab like cubes. Boned shoulder of lamb would work as well.


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-½ inch ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 1 lb. boned shoulder of lamb, or pork, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 hot green chile, finely sliced (do not remove seeds)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-½–2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Put the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, put in the ginger, garlic, and curry leaves. Stir. When the garlic starts to brown, put in the meat. Stir once or twice and turn the heat to medium-low.  Now put in the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, green chile, and salt. Stir to mix. Add water and cover tightly.  Cook over low heat for about 50 minutes, opening the lid every so often to make sure you have enough liquid.  After 50 minutes, cook, uncovered, over high heat until all the liquid has gone and the meat has browned a bit.  Stir as you do this.  Then stir in lots of freshly ground black pepper and the lemon juice.


Originally called for cooking in a pressure cooker—used 2 tbsps of water, cooked for 15 minutes under pressure, then the same “cook until dry” w/o pressure.
Serve over rice, Indian mashed potatoes, plain boiled potatoes, or with Indian breads. 


Madhur Jaffrey


3 servings


Asian : Southern : Indian



preparation times

• Cook: 1 Hour 15 Minutes