Margarita's International Recipes


Ceylonese Lamb Curry

I decided to make this curry because I liked how different it was from your traditional Indian curry. It wasn't heavy on ghee, yogurt or oil, and it included fruits as well as meat. I don't think I've made anything like this before. Both Mike and I really liked it, we appreciated its freshness and balance. Still, it was a very laborious dish to make, so I don't think I'd make it again - though I'm glad I did it once.

As usual, I made a few changes from the original recipe. The original recipe asked for lamb breast, but that's not a cut available at my supermarket - and even if it was, it'd have been a lot of work to bone the lamb - so I used leg of lamb instead. The lamb became nice and tender, so I can't imagine it made a big difference. I also cut the crushed pepper in two - again to cater to my kids' tastes (they won't eat anything spicy). Even then, it had a bite. If you like spicy food, you may want to double the pepper the amounts of crushed pepper in the recipe below. Finally, I used canned pineapple - mostly to save some money (I had a can of pineapple at home). It worked well.

The original recipe says to serve it with rice and chapatis - but I forgot to make the rice, and I couldn't find chapatis at my local Indian market - so I served it with nan bread instead. It worked well, but some rice would have been nice.

I was able to find the Madras curry powder at my local Indian market - if you can't find it, I'd use regular curry powder instead. I think the green onions, cilantro and mint gave a nice, fresh finish to the dish - but I also don't think they were absolutely necessary. Unless you have other uses for the herbs, I wouldn't go again through the expense of buying them.

Ceylonese Lamb Curry


  • 4 lbs lamb, cut into 1" strips
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 onion, 1 minced and 2 cut into bite-size chunks
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. Madras curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. anise seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup distilled vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 2 green apples, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 2 oranges, cut into slices (with the peel on)
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 4 green onions, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, minced


Lightly season the lamb with salt and pepper. Put in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat, drain, and put lamb aside. Dry the pot.

Heat the olive and vegetable oils over high heat on the dried pot. Add the minced onion, the garlic, ginger, Madras curry powder, crushed pepper, anise seeds, cinnamon and dill weed. Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly and rapidly until a past is formed. Return lamb to the pot, and coat well. Add the broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the meat is very tender, about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the brown sugar and vinegar, stir and taste. Add additional sugar, vinegar or crushed pepper, if needed. Add the onions, bell pepper, apples, oranges and pineapple and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until the apples are tender.

Meanwhile mix the cornstarch with the water. Once the apples are done, add the mixture to the pot and simmer gently until the sauce has thickened. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the green onions, cilantro and mint and stir lightly. Serve.

Adapted from a recipe at

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