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Spicy Lamb Stew

Spicy Lamb Stew

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Spicy lamb stew, lamb shoulder slow cooked in white wine with onions, garlic, bell peppers, pasilla chiles, paprika, cumin, tomatoes, raisins, and herbs.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

We love lamb around here, every which way—braised, roasted, grilled, and even made into meatballs. Here is a spicy lamb stew, that is almost beefy in taste. Think of it as a spicy lamb pot roast.

The recipe is adapted from The Niman Ranch Cookbook, where it is billed as a tagine, a savory Moroccan stew.

Lamb shoulder pieces are browned, and then slow cooked in stock and spices such as cumin, paprika, and cardamom.

Slow cooking, at a low, even temperature is important for the lamb shoulder to become tender. We cooked this stew on the stove-top, but you could easily make it in a slow-cooker or even a traditional Moroccan tagine.

Spicy Lamb Stew Recipe

You will get more flavor if you use less expensive lamb pieces that come bone-in, in which case you'll likely want to remove the bones before serving. Pick lamb pieces that have some fat.


  • 2-3 lbs of lamb shoulder stew meat, cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 dry pasilla chiles, chopped, stems and most seeds removed
  • 1 Tbsp hot Hungarian paprika*
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground cardamon
  • 1½ cups chicken stock (use gluten-free stock for gluten-free version)
  • 14 oz of canned whole tomatoes, put through a food mill, or puréed
  • 8-10 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 4-5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • Salt and pepper

* Hot Hungarian paprika is not the regular Hungarian paprika which is sweet and mild. It is even hotter than cayenne. If you don't have access to hot paprika, I would substitute 1/2 with sweet paprika and 1/2 with chili powder.


1 Sear the lamb on all sides: Pat the lamb dry with a paper towel. Drying the lamb this way first will help the lamb pieces brown. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy, high-sided pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium high heat. When the pot is hot, add the lamb pieces in batches, being careful not to crowd them. Cook, turning as needed so that the lamb pieces brown evenly on all sides, for 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2 Sauté onions, peppers, chiles, garlic: Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the onions, dried peppers and red bell peppers and stir to coat with the oil in the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.

3 Make a bouquet garni with parsley, thyme, bay leaf: Make a bouquet garni by placing the parsley, thyme and bay leaf in the center of a doubled over cheesecloth square. Gather the ends and secure with kitchen string.

4 Add spices, tomatoes, lamb, stock, raisins, herbs, simmer and cook: Stir in the paprika, cumin, and cardamom and cook for a minute. Add the puréed (or cooked tomatoes put through a food mill) tomatoes, lamb, chicken stock, raisins and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil over high heat, decrease heat to low. Cook, partially covered, for about 3 hours, or until lamb is tender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over couscous or rice (gluten-free option).

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Lamb Stew Recipe Step by Step

Published: Aug 27, 2018 · Modified: Mar 16, 2021 by Shadi HasanzadeNemati · This post may contain affiliate links .

This easy lamb stew recipe is hearty, healthy and easy to make. It's a one pot stew that's packed with vegetables, lamb and spices, perfect for a family meal.

If you're a fan of stew recipes, you should totally take a look at our Moroccan chickpea stew and Italian beef stew. Both are ideal family meals, and today we have a classic lamb stew to expand our lamb recipes collection!


Coat lamb stew meat with flour

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown lamb stew meat on all sides. Transfer lamb to a bowl. Reduce heat and coat Dutch over with a little more olive oil.

Add garlic, onion, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Mix well and coat onion. Add carrots. Saute for 4 min or until onion is soft and one side of the carrot is browned.

Add broth, wine, tomato paste, and garbanzo beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.

Stir in sweet potato, Yukon gold potato, apricots, dates and cherry tomatoes. Add bay leaf.

Put in the oven and cook for 2 hours. After two hours, remove from the oven and remove bay leaf. Garnish with parsley.

I enjoy this with toasted baguette or naan. Pairing it with our Red Mountain Malbec is perfect. It is great as leftovers.

The best Spicy Coconut Lamb Stew

A good lamb stew needs spices and love. This dish has both, and Noubess Hot and Spicy Sauces will add that spicy taste you’re craving.

A tasty lamb stew needs spices. The use of coconut milk is what makes this lamb stew different from how I usually cook my meat. I typically cook lamb with lots of spices and recently decided to get more ideas from other cultures. Although many of the Caribbean islands cook with coconut milk, it is not widely used in Haitian cooking. We do have a rice dish and a cornmeal dish cooked in coconut milk.

I may sound like a broken record, but I cannot say it enough. Lamb must be cleaned, and washed with vinegar, lemon or lime and cooked with an acidic agent to remove the raw and gamy odor. Just remember my cleaning tip, and you will be fine cooking lamb more often.

My Spicy Coconut Lamb Stew is made with two main ingredients, Garam Marsala and Noubess Hot and Spicy Herb Sauce. India meets Haiti! Why not, right! If there is an abundance of spices in the world, why not try them all. What can go wrong?

Absolutely nothing! Just tons of tasty dishes.

What is Garam Masala?

Garam Masala (from Hindi: गरम मसाला, garam (“hot”) and masala (a mixture of spices)) is a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines.

The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with many recipes across India according to regional and personal taste, [1] and none is considered more authentic than others. The components of the mix are toasted, then ground together.

A typical Indian version of garam masala contains:

The recipe

Some recipes call for spices to be blended with herbs, while others for the spices to be ground with water, vinegar, coconut milk, or other liquids, to make a paste. In some recipes nuts, onion, or garlic may be added. Some recipes also call for small quantities of star anise, asafoetida, stone flower or Dagadphool and Kababchini (Cubeb). The flavors may be carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect, or a single taste may be emphasized. A masala may be toasted before use to release its flavors and aromas. (Wikipedia, 2015)

For the stew, I added Noubess Hot and Spicy Herb Sauce but you can add any of the other flavors as well. I love using Noubess Hot and Spicy Mango with Herb Sauce in Italian dishes. I also like using Noubess Hot and Spicy Pineapple Sauce for Mediterranean and Asian dishes.

The mixture of Garam Masala, Noubess Sauce and Coconut Milk is perfect. It seems like all those ingredients were made for each other. How about making one of my favorite and tasty dishes today?

Recipe Summary

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds lamb meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, peeled, cut into fourths, then sliced lengthwise into thin strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can homemade chicken broth or low-sodium canned broth
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon water (Optional)

Place diced lamb in a bowl, toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and set aside. In a large resealable bag, toss together the paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, ginger, saffron, garlic powder, and coriander mix well. Add the lamb to the bag, and toss around to coat well. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the lamb, and brown well. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining lamb. Add onions and carrots to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh garlic and ginger continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest, chicken broth, tomato paste, and honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender.

If the consistency of the tagine is too thin, you may thicken it with a mixture of cornstarch and water during the last 5 minutes.

About the Recipe

We know one theory behind the day-related name of nihari. It’s derived from the Arabic word nahar for day and potentially the daily routines of Mughal elite.

However, there’s another theory (and one much more pertinent to the recipe itself) that nihari has its name because it would traditionally take a full day to cook. We’ll see in a bit that modern variations – even some using pressure cookers (though ours doesn’t) – have made the recipe more palatable to the modern working schedule, but other preparations of nihari could still call for overnight stewing in an earthenware pot.

Whichever recipe you go by, though, just keep in mind the essence of preparing nihari: it will need to stew on its own for a long while.

The goals for this are twofold. First, you want the meat to be almost “fall off the bone” tender when it comes serving time. Second, enough cooking time allows the marrows from the bone to cook into the sauce and thicken its consistency nicely.

But the key for nihari’s flavor comes from the spices. The lamb cooks in a braising liquid seasoned with the likes of coriander, pepper, ginger, turmeric and a sort of homemade garam masala blend.

As in any other lamb braising, it’s best to pre-sear your lamb piece in a cooking fat at a very high heat for a few minutes. For the meat itself, a tenderer cut of lamb like a shank is more common nowadays since it’ll take less time and is easier to cook through. Just be sure to keep some bone intact for your stew!

Once you have seared lamb, you’ll pour a various set of slurries on top of it. Start by creating a mixture of water and your aromatic spices. Pour it over and around the lamb to season it and make sure both sides are well coated in spice. After a minute or two, top it with your next slurry of a flour mixed into more water.

Some recipes might have you fry onions before the lamb or, in our case, only once the lamb’s begun to braising. No matter your preference, the goal is to have onions in the braise before you “set and forget” your nihari. Fry your onions and add them in with the braising lamb and submerge it with more water until everything is well covered. Bring the pot to a quick boil, then let your nihari simmer all the way until it’s cooked and done.

What results is a nihari made of super soft lamb covered in a thickened, rich and delicately spiced sauce that goes great on any rice, naan, or even straight up. Enjoy!

  • 4 lbs lamb or goat shank, cut into 2-3 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 5 medium carrots, cut into chunks
  • steamed rice, to serve
  • a handful of chopped cilantro (optional)

Step 1

Put the meat in a large bowl, and toss with all the spices and salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

After the meat has had a chance to marinate, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and sear the meat in batches until browned. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside on a plate. Add the onions, garlic, and tomato paste and fry until the onions are softened.

Add the meat back to the pot, along with the beef stock and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven for 2 hours.

Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the carrots and potatoes. Transfer back to the oven and cook uncovered for another 45 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

Recipe Summary

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided
  • 1 pound beef chuck, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (Optional)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 tomato - peeled, seeded, and chopped (Optional)
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 habanero pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds

Combine flour, paprika, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a large, resealable plastic bag shake to mix. Add beef and shake to coat beef in flour mixture. Remove beef from bag and shake to remove any excess flour mixture.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef in hot oil until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove beef with a slotted spoon to a slow cooker, retaining oil and drippings in the skillet.

Saute onion in retained drippings until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes add to beef in slow cooker.

Stir vegetable broth, potatoes, diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, carrots, tomato, chopped habanero pepper, habanero pepper halves, black pepper, and caraway seeds with the beef and onion in the slow cooker.

Cook on Low for 4 hours. Remove and discard the habanero pepper halves before serving.

Spicy Lamb Stew with Daikon

Winter comfort food done right: This spicy, Asian-inspired lamb stew is flavored with Asian sauces, Thai chilis, star anise to warm you up from the inside.

  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1 x
  • Category: Meat, Main Course, Stew
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese


  • 2 pounds lamb stew meat or boneless lamb leg, cut into 2 -inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 Thai chilis, sliced
  • 1/2 ounce fresh ginger root, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine or sherry
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken bone broth or regular chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 12 ounces daikon, peeled and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Chopped green onion for garnishing


  1. In a large saucepan, cover lamb with water and bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse to clean. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the same saucepan and whip it dry completely or use a large Dutch oven. Heat olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes add garlic, chili, and ginger. Saute for a minute or until fragrant.
  3. Add lamb into the Dutch oven cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add Shaoxing wine or sherry, followed by dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, chicken bone broth, brown sugar, and ground cumin. Drop star anise into the pan and switch to high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, simmer for 1½ hours.
  5. 45 minutes before cooking is finished, add daikon to the lamb stew, stir to coat with the sauce, and continue simmering until done.
  6. Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup cold water and stir into the lamb stew. Once the stew is thickened, turn off the heat.
  7. Garnish with green onion and serve over rice or mashed potatoes.


If you are not a fan of daikon, you can substitute carrots, potatoes, or other root vegetables.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Making the Perfect Lamb Stew

  • Always brown your meat first to lock in that flavor and provide that thickening power to your stew.
  • Use the right cut of lamb for the most flavorful lamb.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices and herbs.
  • Serve this lamb stew with a good crusty bread that is great for dipping.