Butter Lamb Curry
Butter Lamb Curry
5 from 2 votes
Discover the joy of homemade butter lamb curry—a symphony of rich flavours and tender meat. Whether you're a newbie in the kitchen or a seasoned pro, this dish has something for everyone. Read on for an in-depth look at its history, variations, and just how simple it is to master this culinary delight.
Butter Lamb Curry

Butter lamb curry. Just the name itself conjures up images of a sumptuous meal waiting to be devoured. Originating from the Indian subcontinent, this dish has long held a spot in the pantheon of classic Indian recipes.  

But don’t let the exotic sound of it intimidate you. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not that hard to prepare, especially when you have a clear roadmap. I mean, I’ve got you covered! 

The first thing that you should know about butter lamb curry is that it’s usually prepared during special occasions. In Indian households, festivals like Diwali or Eid are simply incomplete without it. But honestly, why wait for a festival when you can turn any day into a celebration with this dish? 

Let’s talk about the difficulty level. If you’ve ever tried your hand at Indian cooking, you might be familiar with the array of spices that go into the pot.  

For butter lamb curry, you’re not just sprinkling a little salt and pepper here. Instead, you’ll work with garam masala, cumin, coriander, and a few other magical powders. But don’t worry, it’s more about adding them at the right time than anything else. I’d say it’s a medium-level recipe. So yes, you got this! 

Now, what sets this curry apart is the beautiful marriage of lamb and butter, elevated by a melody of spices. But hey, if lamb isn’t your thing, you can always go for chicken or even tofu.  

Yep, there are different variations to suit every palate. But for the purists, the lamb version is the “real deal,” and you can’t really argue with tradition, can you? 

The richness in the curry primarily comes from the heavy cream and butter. But if you’re watching your waistline, skimmed milk or coconut milk can also do the trick. But let’s be honest, the full-fat version has a distinct, irreplaceable taste. So, if you’re going for it, go all out! 

You might be wondering about the tomato puree in the recipe. No, it’s not just for colour. The tanginess of the tomato balances the richness of the butter and cream, making each bite a perfect blend of flavours. Trust me, you’ll be scooping up every last drop. 

One last thing before we delve into the ingredients, there’s a certain charm in garnishing the dish with fresh cilantro leaves. It not only adds colour but also a burst of freshness. So don’t skip it, unless you’re one of those people who think cilantro tastes like soap (you know who you are). 

Butter lamb curry is not just a dish; it’s an experience—a culinary journey through the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine. Whether you’re making it for a special occasion or just want to spice up your dinner routine, it’s a guaranteed showstopper. So roll up those sleeves and let’s get cooking! 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Before diving into the pot and sizzling away, let’s take a moment to appreciate each of our cast members for this culinary show.  

Understanding the role of each ingredient in butter lamb curry will not only elevate your cooking game but also give you the freedom to improvise. So, let’s pull back the curtain and meet our stars. 

Boneless Lamb: The star of our dish! Lamb brings a unique, gamey flavour that pairs exceptionally well with spices. It’s tender and absorbs the spices during the marination process, creating layers of taste in the final curry. Alternative? Chicken or tofu could work, but the taste will be significantly different. 

Butter: Ah, the golden glory that gives our curry its name. Butter is what adds that rich, creamy texture and a slightly nutty flavour. If you’re health-conscious, you could use olive oil, but trust me, it won’t be the same. 

Onions: These serve as the base for the curry, providing a natural sweetness that counterbalances the heat and spice. Shallots could be an alternative, offering a more intense, concentrated flavour. 

Garlic and Ginger: The dynamic duo in many Asian dishes. They bring a zing and zest that is irreplaceable. While you could use garlic and ginger paste from a jar, fresh is always best. 

Garam Masala: This blend of spices is like the magic wand of Indian cooking. It adds warmth, depth, and complexity. If you can’t find garam masala, a blend of ground cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom can come close. 

Cumin and Coriander Powder: These two spices are the backbone of the dish. Cumin adds an earthy note, while coriander gives it a mild, citrusy tang. An equal mix of the two spices could serve as a makeshift garam masala in desperate times. 

Turmeric and Chili Powder: Turmeric provides colour and mild bitterness, contrasting with the hot and spicy chili powder. For less heat, paprika can replace chili powder, and for a health twist, you could add more turmeric. 

Tomato Puree: Beyond the vibrant colour, the acidity in tomato puree helps tenderize the meat and balance the richness of butter and cream. Fresh tomatoes blended into a puree could be a simple substitute. 

Heavy Cream: This ingredient brings the dish together, making it silky smooth. For a lighter version, milk can be used, but you’ll sacrifice some of that indulgent richness. 

Salt: The underrated hero. It enhances all the other flavours, making them sing. Sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or even kosher salt—take your pick! 

Fresh Cilantro Leaves: A pop of green in a sea of red, this herb brings a burst of freshness and complements the richness of the curry. Parsley can be an alternative, but the flavour profile will change. 

And there you have it—each ingredient, a note in a beautiful symphony that is butter lamb curry. Whether you stick to the script or make your own remix, understanding these ingredients is the first step towards becoming a true maestro in the kitchen. Now, shall we cook? 

The Art of Marinating Lamb for Butter Lamb Curry 

Marinating isn’t just tossing meat in a bowl with some spices; it’s about infusing flavours and making that cut of lamb something to write poems about. In the culinary world of butter lamb curry, the marination process is a make-or-break deal.  

If you’ve always wondered why your curry isn’t as tasty as it should be, perhaps you’ve underestimated this crucial phase. 

The first thing to consider when marinating lamb is time. The recommended marination time for this dish is at least 30 minutes.  

However, if you’re planning ahead, letting the meat soak up the spices overnight can make a world of difference. The longer the marination, the deeper the flavours penetrate, making every bite a treat. 

Secondly, let’s discuss the spices that go into the marinade. Your garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, and chili powder aren’t just there for kicks.  

They each contribute a unique character to the lamb, from the warming notes of garam masala to the earthy goodness of cumin and coriander. The lamb acts like a sponge, absorbing all these flavours, which then get activated during the cooking process. 

If you’re in a rush or out of specific spices, it may be tempting to cut corners. But remember, a good marinade is more than the sum of its parts. Substituting or skipping one ingredient could alter the dish significantly.  

For instance, if you replace garam masala with a basic curry powder, you’re going to miss out on that authentic Indian flavour profile. 

Finally, why not go the extra mile and add some fresh herbs to the mix? While traditional butter lamb curry recipes may not call for it, adding a sprig of rosemary or thyme can infuse a delightful, aromatic twist to your marinade. 

Finding the Perfect Pair: Side Dishes for Butter Lamb Curry 

When it comes to butter lamb curry, the main course is only part of the gastronomic adventure. Let’s talk about side dishes, because, let’s face it, even a star needs a good supporting cast. 

First and foremost, you can’t go wrong with the classics: steamed basmati rice or naan bread. The fluffy grains of basmati rice are perfect for soaking up that rich, creamy curry, while naan bread adds a nice, doughy texture. Plus, who doesn’t love scooping up curry with a piece of warm, freshly baked bread? 

If you’re looking to add some greens to the mix, a side of sautéed spinach or a simple cucumber salad can bring a refreshing balance to the richness of the curry. Spinach sautéed with garlic and a dash of lemon adds a tangy counterpoint, whereas a cucumber salad can provide a cool, crisp contrast. 

For those with a more adventurous palate, consider a spicy mango chutney or a tangy raita as a side.  

Mango chutney brings a fruity sweetness that complements the spiciness of the curry, while a cucumber or mint raita offers a soothing, cooling effect, toning down the heat for those who prefer milder flavours. 

Don’t overlook the power of a good beverage to accompany your butter lamb curry. While water is the go-to choice for many, consider pairing the dish with a lassi (a yogurt-based Indian drink) or even a glass of red wine like a Shiraz, which pairs excellently with lamb. 

Dialling Up the Heat: How to Adjust the Spiciness of Your Butter Lamb Curry 

When it comes to butter lamb curry, one question that frequently comes up is how to control the level of spiciness. After all, not everyone can handle the fiery thrill of chili powder, and yet, some of us live for that kick. So let’s delve into this spicy debate. 

The most obvious culprit is chili powder. If you’re making the curry for those who love a good kick, don’t be shy with the chili powder. 

On the other hand, if you’re cooking for a crowd with varying tolerance levels, consider using half the amount stated in the recipe or even substituting it with paprika for a milder heat. 

Ever thought about using fresh chilies? A finely chopped green chili can provide a different layer of heat, one that invigorates the taste buds without setting them ablaze.  

You can control the spiciness by removing the seeds, which are the spiciest part of the chili. This way, you get the flavour without the overpowering heat. 

Capsaicin, the chemical compound in chilies that provides heat, is fat-soluble. This means that adding more heavy cream can reduce the spiciness of your curry.  

This doesn’t just dilute the heat; it actually counterbalances it, resulting in a milder yet still flavourful dish. 

Another factor that can influence the spice level is the type of garam masala used. This Indian spice mix can range from mild to hot, depending on the brand or how it’s made.  

If you’re looking to tone down the heat, opt for a milder version of garam masala. Similarly, you can increase the heat by choosing a spicier blend. 

Butter Lamb Curry: Making It Ahead and Storing Tips 

You’ve decided to make butter lamb curry for dinner, but life happens, and plans change.  

Maybe you’ve been invited to an impromptu gathering, or perhaps you’re not as hungry as you thought you’d be. The good news? Butter lamb curry is one of those dishes that actually gets better with time. Let’s explore the dos and don’ts of making it ahead and storing it for later enjoyment. 

Cooking the curry a day in advance can enhance its flavours. The spices meld together, and the lamb becomes even more tender.  

This is perfect if you’re planning a dinner party and want to get some cooking out of the way beforehand. Just store the cooked curry in an airtight container in the fridge, and you’re good to go. 

Reheating is a breeze, but there are a few things to keep in mind. You’ll want to use a low to medium heat to avoid overcooking the lamb, which could make it tough.  

Stir occasionally, and if you find the curry has thickened too much, a splash of water or additional cream can bring it back to the desired consistency. 

Freezing is also an option, especially if you’ve made a large batch and want to save some for another day. However, be mindful of the dairy content. Sometimes cream-based sauces can separate when frozen and then thawed. If that happens, a quick blitz with a hand blender should smooth things out. 

What about leftovers? You can transform them into a completely different meal. Shred the lamb, add some beans or veggies, and you’ve got yourself a filling for tacos or wraps. A little creativity goes a long way in giving your butter lamb curry a second life. 

Unveiling the Mystery of Garam Masala in Butter Lamb Curry 

Garam Masala, the soulful blend of spices that give your butter lamb curry its depth and warmth, deserves some spotlight. You see, while each ingredient plays a role, it’s the garam masala that brings the harmonious symphony of flavours.  

It’s like the conductor of the orchestra, subtly influencing each section to create a beautiful, unified piece. 

The name itself, “Garam Masala,” translates to “hot spices,” but don’t let that mislead you into thinking it’s just about heat.  

This blend generally includes spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and coriander, each contributing a unique note. The ‘hot’ in its name refers more to the intensity and complexity it brings to a dish, rather than Scoville heat units. 

Of course, not all garam masala blends are created equal. There are regional variations that include additional spices like nutmeg, fennel, or dried chilies.  

The magic happens when the spices are toasted and freshly ground. Even within India, families often have their own proprietary blends passed down through generations. 

So how does this relate to your butter lamb curry? It’s simple. The choice of garam masala can significantly influence the final flavour profile.  

A blend heavy on cloves and cinnamon will create a curry that’s warm and slightly sweet. A version that leans towards cardamom and cumin will be more aromatic and slightly tangy. 

The takeaway here is to experiment and find a blend that sings to your soul. Whether you opt for a store-bought version or grind your spices fresh, remember that this humble blend is the key to elevating your butter lamb curry from good to unforgettable. 

The Role of Creaminess: Why Heavy Cream is Non-Negotiable in Butter Lamb Curry 

If you’ve ever savoured a plate of butter lamb curry, you know that the creaminess is nothing short of enchanting. That velvety texture that wraps around each piece of lamb, making each bite an experience, can be attributed to one key ingredient: heavy cream. 

You see, heavy cream does more than just add a rich, luxurious mouthfeel. It’s the medium that marries the spices, the lamb, and the tomatoes into a unified, glorious dish.  

When you add the cream, something magical happens. The flavours meld, the spices mellow, and the lamb takes on a tenderness that is otherworldly. 

But why not substitute it for something lighter, you might ask. Well, milk, half-and-half, or coconut milk may be tempting options, especially for those watching their calories.  

But let me tell you, the results won’t be the same. Milk will lack the richness, half-and-half may curdle, and coconut milk will significantly alter the flavour profile. 

And here’s a pro tip: add the cream slowly and on low heat. This prevents it from separating or curdling, ensuring that your curry remains smooth and well-integrated. It’s a small step but makes a world of difference in the final dish. 

Mastering the Sauté: The Importance of Onions in Butter Lamb Curry 

Let’s take a moment to appreciate onions, the unsung heroes in our delectable butter lamb curry.  

Trust me, they’re far more than just a base ingredient; they’re the backbone that lends a unique character to the dish. And we’re not just talking about any onion; we’re talking about the kind that’s finely chopped and sautéed to perfection. 

When you sauté onions, they go through a beautiful transformation. They lose their pungent bite and develop a rich, caramelized sweetness. This forms the ideal backdrop for the heavy hitters like garam masala and butter.  

They absorb and complement these robust flavours, thus giving the dish an inviting richness. 

What you don’t want to do is rush through this step. Yes, it’s tempting to crank up the heat and get on with it, but patience is the key here. The perfect sautéed onions for butter lamb curry are the ones that have been cooked slowly, allowing them to reach that sweet-spot of golden brown perfection. 

And let’s be honest, onions aren’t just taste-enhancers; they also bring a bunch of health benefits to the table, such as antioxidants and a good dose of vitamin C. Plus, they offer a sense of balance to the heavy, creamy texture of the curry.  

Their slight acidity and sweetness give your butter lamb curry a multifaceted flavour profile. 

The Tomato Tang: Why Tomato Puree is a Game-Changer 

The tomato puree, that unsung melody in the concerto that is butter lamb curry. It’s neither the first ingredient you’ll taste nor the most dominant, but let me tell you, it’s crucial. This component adds acidity and sweetness, balancing the rich, aromatic spices and heavy cream. 

But it’s not just about adding tartness or sweetness; the texture also comes into play. Tomato puree is smoother and thicker than crushed tomatoes, making it the ideal consistency to cling to each piece of lamb. It creates a curry that’s not too thin or too chunky—just right. 

Have you ever wondered why your homemade curry isn’t as vibrant as restaurant versions? It might be the tomato element you’re overlooking. Using canned or overly diluted tomato puree can significantly tone down the colours, making it less appealing to the eyes. Remember, we eat with our eyes first. 

Oh, and let’s talk about the nutrients. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins A and C and folic acid. They contain a variety of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene, and lutein. 

If tomato puree isn’t your cup of tea or you’ve run out, you could consider using tomato sauce as an alternative, though it’s generally thinner and may contain additional seasonings.  

For a fresher approach, blending fresh ripe tomatoes could do the trick, but remember, it won’t be as concentrated in flavour. 

The Ginger and Garlic Duo: Aromatic Twins for Butter Lamb Curry 

Oh, the joys of cooking with ginger and garlic! They’re like the Lennon and McCartney of the culinary world, elevating any dish they touch. In butter lamb curry, they act as the perfect harmonizing agents, meshing with the other ingredients while still standing out. 

Start with garlic, a universal flavour dynamo. A few minced cloves can drastically transform a dull dish into something special. It has a sharpness that is offset by its slow transformation into a sweet and savoury note as it cooks.  

The garlic doesn’t just sit there; it melts into the lamb, creating layers of flavour that strike your palate like a well-composed symphony. 

Then there’s ginger. Oh, the zesty charm of fresh ginger! Its bright, lemony notes can cut through the richness of the lamb and cream, giving your curry a surprising depth.  

And let’s not ignore the little spiciness it brings, making each bite a tantalizing mystery of flavours. It’s like a plot twist in a thriller movie—unexpected but delightful. 

It’s not just their individual performances that impress but also their collaboration.  

When combined, garlic and ginger create a powerful flavour foundation that prepares the taste buds for the spices and creaminess that follow. And don’t even get me started on the health benefits—garlic and ginger are both known for their anti-inflammatory properties and digestive aid. 

But what if you’re out of fresh ginger or garlic? While there’s nothing like the real deal, ginger and garlic pastes can work in a pinch.  

They won’t give the same robust flavour, but they’ll still contribute to the dish’s overall complexity. Just remember, these pastes often contain preservatives, so you might want to adjust your salt and spice levels accordingly. 

Spice and Flavour: The Role of Cumin and Coriander 

Let’s talk cumin and coriander, the dynamic duo in the realm of spices that often get overshadowed by the more robust characters in your spice drawer. In butter lamb curry, they are the quiet but crucial contributors, making sure the flavours sing in harmony. 

Cumin brings an earthy warmth to the dish, adding depth and complexity. Its nutty, slightly spicy taste beautifully complements the succulent lamb, giving your curry a cosy, homey feel.  

While you might be tempted to toss in a random spice mix, cumin offers a singular note that rounds out the flavours of the other spices. 

Coriander, often seen as the gentler cousin of cumin, adds a mild, citrusy kick to the butter lamb curry. It’s like that shy person at a party who surprises you with their wit and charm once they open up. You might not notice coriander at first, but take it out, and you’ll feel like something is missing. 

Together, cumin and coriander create a balanced act—neither overpowering the other. They allow other ingredients like ginger, garlic, and garam masala to shine, while still holding their own. It’s like a well-rehearsed choir where each voice adds something unique but crucial to the overall sound. 

If you’re not a fan of these spices or don’t have them in your pantry, all is not lost.  

Some alternative spices could include fenugreek or caraway seeds for cumin, and for coriander, you could try using a dash of lemon zest or a pinch of parsley. Just remember that the alternative spices will bring a different profile, altering the traditional flavour of your butter lamb curry. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

Oh, you loved my Butter Lamb Curry, didn’t you? That rich, buttery gravy with tender pieces of lamb was a revelation. But hey, why stop there when we’ve just embarked on this delicious culinary journey together? Allow me to be your guide through more tantalizing flavours of Indian cuisine. 

First off, you can’t talk about butter-based Indian curries without giving a nod to the iconic Butter Chicken. Imagine tender chunks of chicken bathed in a creamy tomato sauce with spices that’ll make your heart sing. Trust me, this dish is what dreams are made of. 

If you thought the Butter Lamb Curry was finger-licking good, wait until you try the Lamb Karahi. It’s a pot full of fragrant spices, juicy lamb, and an aroma that could lure you in from a mile away. The Karahi is a wok-like vessel it’s cooked in, and let me tell you, it’s magic in a pot! 

Now, let’s get a bit seafood-y. How about Masala Fish? Picture succulent pieces of fish seasoned with a blend of spices that have the power to transport you straight to the coastal regions of India. It’s like a vacation without leaving your kitchen. 

Ah, and then there’s Chicken Biryani, a one-pot wonder that marries succulent pieces of chicken with fragrant Basmati rice. Each spoonful is an explosion of spices, and it’s got a complexity that’ll keep you guessing and wanting more. 

I can’t leave you without a dessert. You absolutely have to try the Rice Kheer, India’s answer to rice pudding but with an exotic twist of cardamom and saffron. It’s the perfect sweet ending you’d want for any Indian meal. 

So go on, dive into these dishes and let me know how you fare! And hey, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop your comments down below and let’s keep this flavour train going! 

Butter Lamb Curry

Butter Lamb Curry

by Nabeela Kauser
Discover the joy of homemade butter lamb curry—a symphony of rich flavours and tender meat. Whether you're a newbie in the kitchen or a seasoned pro, this dish has something for everyone.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 628 kcal


  • 500 g Lamb Boneless
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Onions Finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1- inch Ginger Minced
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Powder Adjust to taste
  • 200 g Tomato Puree
  • 200 ml Double Cream
  • Salt To taste
  • Coriander For garnish


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the lamb cubes with the ginger, garlic, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and chili powder. Mix well to coat the lamb evenly.
  • Cover and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
  • In a large skillet or frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent and lightly browned.
  • Add the marinated lamb and cook until it’s browned on all sides.
  • Pour in the tomato puree and simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld.
  • Add the heavy cream and stir well. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the lamb is tender and cooked through.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Serve the Butter Lamb Curry hot, garnished with fresh cilantro leaves. It pairs perfectly with steamed basmati rice or naan bread.


Adjust the chili powder according to your spice preference.
You can add a bit of water if the curry becomes too thick during simmering.
Feel free to customize the level of creaminess by adjusting the amount of heavy cream used.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 628kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 24gFat: 54gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 155mgPotassium: 670mgFibre: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1251IUVitamin C: 11mgVitamin D: 1µgCalcium: 90mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Butter, Cooking, Curry, Food, Lamb, Lamb Curry, Meat, Recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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