Lamb Plum Anise Curry

Enjoy the sweet and spicy pairing of plum and anise in this lamb curry from The Spice Tree. With a generous simmering time, you'll enjoy melt-in-the-mouth lamb.

The Spice Tree
From the book The Spice Tree


I have so many fond memories of watching my father make this dish. Staring longingly into the pan during the long simmer, I would haunt him, 'Mon, is it ready yet? Is it ready yet?' 'Not until the fat sits on the top like a golden mirror,' he would say. 

Serves 4-6


2 large white onions, medium diced
5cm piece of fresh ginger, 20g peeled and grated
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tbsp garam masala
1 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp anise powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
750g diced lamb shoulder
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
350ml water
250g dried plums/prunes or tinned plums
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
obligatory backup jug of water, to loosen the dish to your taste


Put the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions, ginger and garlic and fry for 8 minutes until the onions have softened and turned golden brown. 

Stir in the garam masala, cumin powder, anise powder, ground turmeric and chilli powder and fry for 30 seconds, then add the diced lamb and fry until it starts to brown, stirring well so it is fully coated with the spices.

Add the chopped tomatoes, water, plums, salt and sugar and bring up to the boil, then partially cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 3/4 - 2 hours or until the lamb is tender. Add more water if necessary to loosen to your taste before serving. 

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