Lamb in rose-scented almond sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

Pasanda Badam Kari is typical of the elegant and rich creamy dishes brought to India by the Mughals. They also introduced the use of floral essences in both sweet and savoury cuisine. Here, a sprinkling of rose water adds a distinctive yet delicate aroma to tender slices of lamb braised in a saffron sauce that is thickened with a fresh almond purée. It makes the perfect dish for a special occasion.


  • large pinch of saffron threads, pounded
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp hot milk
  • 25 g/1oz/¼ cup blanched almonds
  • 675 g/1/½ lb boned leg of lamb
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp natural (plain) yogurt
  • 10 ml/2 tsp gram flour (besan)
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2.5 ml/1 in fresh root ginger, grated, or 10ml/2 tsp ginger purée
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, or 10ml/2 tsp garlic purée
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2.5–5ml/½–1 tsp chilli powder
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 150 ml/¼ pint/ cup double (heavy) cream
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp garam masala
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp rose water
  • toasted flaked (sliced) almonds, to garnish
  • Pilau Rice with Raisins, to serve


  1. Crumble the saffron into a small bowl. Pour over the hot milk and leave to soak.

  2. Put the almonds in another bowl and pour over 150ml/¼ pint/ cup boiling water. Set aside for about 20 minutes. Purée the almonds with their liquid in a blender or using a hand-held blender, until smooth.

  3. Trim any fat from the meat, then place it on a chopping board and cover it with greaseproof paper. Gently bash it with a meat mallet or a wooden rolling pin to flatten the meat evenly until it is about 5mm//in thick. Cut the lamb into thin slices, about 2.5cm/1in long.

  4. Stir the yogurt and gram flour together in a small bowl until smooth.

  5. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry until soft, but not brown, stirring frequently. Add the green chillies, ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the dry spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

  6. Add the meat to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1–2 minutes, until it is lightly browned. Stir in the yogurt and gram flour mixture and cook, stirring, for a further 2–3 minutes, until most of the moisture evaporates and the fat separates from the spice paste.

  7. Pour in 150ml/¼ pint/ cup hot water and season with salt. Bring to the boil, cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to low.

  8. Cook the curry, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes, then stir in the almond purée, the saffron with its soaking liquid, and the cream. Cover and simmer for a further 10–12 minutes or until the meat is tender. Stir in the garam masala and rose water.

  9. Transfer to a warmed serving dish or individual plates, scatter with toasted flaked almonds and serve with Pilau Rice with Raisins.

Per portion Energy 669kcal/2775kJ; Protein 40g; Carbohydrate 10g, of which sugars 6g; Fat 53g, of which saturates 21g; Cholesterol 177mg; Calcium 128mg; Fibre 1.6g; Sodium 620mg.