Achieving really tender lamb in a curry

Joined Mar 3, 2010
When I make a Thai red or Panang curry using lamb, the meat never comes out REALLY tender, and I'd like to know what I'm doing wrong.

Here's what I currently do. For the meat, I've tried using the generic "diced lamb" sold in the shops, or lamb leg cutlets, a cut referred to as "escalopes" (but don't really know where that cut comes from), and boneless rolled shoulder which I then cut into chunks (versus sliced). I then marinade the meat for about 45 minutes in coconut milk, Kaffir lime leaves and a dash of fish sauce, sometimes a little freshly ground cumin and corriander seeds. After preparing the curry sauce, I add the lamb and slowly cook it on the top of the stove for about an hour with the cover off, being careful not to ever let it boil.

I'm really pleased with the flavour of my curry, but the meat tends to be a bit chewy and doesn't melt in the mouth as I'd like. Am I using the wrong cuts of meat, cooking too long or too slow? I've also tried using a lid and cooking in a slow oven, but 2 times the curry sauce kinda "curdled" for lack of a better word. We normally like lamb pink (as in roast leg of lamb, for example), so maybe it would be good to cooki something like rack of lamb or lamb chops separately, and pour the sauce over would produce a better (though less authentic) result?

Any advice would be appreciated!
Joined Feb 3, 2011
Wildwood, I think longer. Red meat as a rule of thumb has the fibres getting harder and dryer once they are heated above 60*C, but the collagen does not start to break down until it reaches 70*C. I am assuming you like the later style in the stew so you need to cook for longer. 
Joined Apr 3, 2008
For really tender meat stick with the shoulder and braise it.  Leave the cover on and cook it on low heat for about 3 hours.  It needs to be braised in just enough liquid so that the liquid comes all the way up the sides of the meat but not covering it completely.  It needs an occasional stirring once every 45min or so and also make sure it doesn't boil but very very lightly simmers.

I've never cooked a curry so I don't knkow how well a curry sauce stands up to braising.  My suspicion though is that it will be fine to braise the lamb in the curry sauce.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Long slow cooking is the best. AND, a curdled sauce is not a problem, it's actually a sign of a good curry.  If it concerns you, drain it of, chuck it in a food processor and blend, or use a stick blender, then replace it into the curry.

But as mentioned above, a much longer braising time would be best, say up to 4 or 5 hours, for me.

As for the cut of lamb, I would choose perhaps a shoulder or leg rather than chops.  If you're going for a long slow braise, you'll never get it pink.  You'd have to make a curry sauce on its own then char the chops/cutlets and add them to the sauce for a couple of minutes to re-heat.

Plenty of liquid is essential, such as some canned diced tomatoes or if you like it, some coconut milk.  Even just chicken stock - chicken and lamb seem to go well together.

Lots of spices in mine please :)
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Joined Sep 19, 2010
Lamb Curry, braise at least 3 hours and you don't need to brown the meat before adding the liquid.  Remember stewed curries always taste better the next day.  
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