Pre-Cooked Lamb for Curry | A Simple How-to Guide

BIR curry is all about cooking your curry quickly. This can be a little tricky with lamb, as if you cook it too quickly, it will turn tough. However, there is a solution! By pre-cooking your lamb, you'll save time and make sure it is really juicy and tender. Today, I will teach you how to make pre-cooked lamb for curry and give you some tips and tricks to get you a perfect result.

Can You Precook Lamb for Curry?

Yes, you can pre-cook lamb for a curry. In fact, it should actually become your preferred technique. It's super simple to do, and if you cook in bulk and then store it correctly, you'll be able to make a tasty lamb curry in minutes!

Why is it such a good idea? Well, here are a few reasons…

Why Use Pre-Cooked Lamb in Curry?

Precooking lamb for curry has loads of benefits. Here are a few reasons why you will definitely want to do it.

It Saves Time

By pre-cooking lamb for your curry dishes, you will find that it saves you loads of time. Sure, it requires a little foresight, but once you've done the initial prep and cooking, adding it to your curry is super easy and makes the cooking process much shorter.

It Tastes Better

By pre-cooking your lamb, you are essentially giving it a hot marinade. You can use it immediately after pre-cooking it, but most people will chill or even freeze portions for later use. And as we all know, curry tastes even better when left overnight.

Your Lamb Will be Much more Tender

This is one of the main reasons I would suggest pre-cooking lamb for curry. Unlike chicken, which cooks through relatively quickly, lamb is full of elastin and collagen. These connective tissues, when cooked right, make meat juicy but tend to be tough to start off with.

By pre-cooking your lamb over moderate heat for a longer time, you'll find that the fat and connective tissues break down. This, combined with the lamb soaking up a tasty Indian stock, means that your lamb will be super juicy and fall-apart-on-the-fork-tender.

You'll Save Money

I know what you are thinking.

How on earth can pre-cooking lamb for curry save me money?

Well, my Balti loving buddies, here's why…

Because you are pre-cooking your lamb, you'll be able to use cheaper cuts of meat. There's no need to be blowing your curry budget on expensive parts of lamb. In fact, the cheaper stuff tends to taste nicer in curry as it has a slightly higher fat content!

Pre-Cooking Lamb is Properly Authentic

I 100% guarantee that the lamb you have in your curry from the takeaway was pre-cooked. How do you think they get it so tender when your curry only takes around 15 minutes to arrive from when you first order.

Indian takeaways use pre-cooked meats in all of their curry dishes. This includes beef and pre-cooked chicken too!

If you've read my complete guide to BIR cooking, you'll have already seen that I recommend using this technique.

Which Curries Can I Use Pre-Cooked Lamb in?

All of them!

The beauty of BIR curry is that you can simply 'plug in' different ingredients to get a tasty curry in minutes. Which curries you choose to use your pre-cooked lamb in is entirely up to you!

However, if you want a few suggestions, here are types of curry dishes that will work really well with the pre-cooked lamb: -

How to Make Precooked Lamb for Curry

Ok, let's dive straight in! Here is how to pre-cook lamb to use in a curry

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 90 minutes

Serves: 8 – 10 portions

Pre-cooked Lamb Ingredients

Method for Precooking Lamb for Curry

  1. Take a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the oil and allow it to get hot. Once it starts to shimmer, add the garlic and ginger paste and allow it to sizzle and infuse into the oil. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cumin, turmeric, mix powder and salt and pepper. Stir around until the onions are coated. Cook for 2 minutes until the mixture smells really fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato puree and mix with the spices. Cook down until you have a paste around the same thickness as yoghurt.
  4. Turn the heat up to full and throw in your lamb cubes. Stir and toss the lamb until it has browned slightly and is coated in your lovely masala paste.
  5. Add your stock and base gravy once the lamb is browned all over. Pop a lid on and turn the heat down to a low-medium. Simmer gently for around 90 minutes or until the lamb becomes tender.

Pre-cooked Lamb | Tips and Tricks

  • Avoid hot chilli or other fiery spices in your pre-cooked lamb spice mix. When making BIR curry, you always have the option to add heat specifically to each curry. By making your pre-cooked lamb hot at the start, you limit the option for milder curries
  • When lamb turns tender, it breaks up quite easily. Once it has been cooking a while, try to resist stirring it too often or vigorously
  • Storing pre-cooked lamb for curry is easy. If you are going to freeze it. Allow it to rest and cool, then portion it into Ziploc bags and pop it into the freezer. Alternatively, if you intend to cook curry over the next few days, stick it in a plastic sealable dish and refrigerate. It will be good for around 3 days.
  • If you have frozen your pre-cooked lamb, it is easy to defrost. For the best results, I leave the sealed frozen bag in a bowl of water a couple of hours before I intend to cook. You could also give it a 2-minute blast in the microwave if you are stuck for time.
  • Be sure to save the stock leftover from the cooking. This is great to add to lamb-based curries along with your base gravy as it is packed full of flavour. It will stay good for three days. Alternatively, divide it into an ice cube tray and freeze for some tasty lamb curry stock on the go once it has cooled!
  • Keep a close eye on your pan, and if it starts to look a little low, top it up with either water or more stock!

How to Used Precooked Lamb in Curry

Right, you've got a large portion of pre-cooked lamb ready to go in your curry, but how exactly do you use it? Well, it's actually really simple. My BIR curry cooking guide tells you exactly how to use it, but I'll put a quick summary here if you are in a rush: -

  1. Heat a suitably sized frying pan and add oil
  2. Add garlic and ginger paste and sizzle for 30 seconds
  3. Throw in the spices specific to your particular curry
  4. Add Diluted tomato puree (if applicable)
  5. Add your chunks of pre-cooked lamb
  6. Go in with a cup or two of base gravy and cook to the desired thickness


How easy was that? All of the above should take you no longer than 10 -15 minutes. That's quicker than waiting for a takeaway.

Pre-cooked Lamb for Curry | Frequently Asked Questions

While pre-cooking lamb for curry is super simple, you might have one or two questions. Here are the things I get most commonly asked…

Which Lamb is Best for Curry?

You can use any lamb for curry, but generally speaking, the fattier cuts are best. They will need to be pre-cooked, so they turn tender. Generally speaking, lamb shoulder and lamb neck fillets are relatively cheap and really tasty! Pre-cubed 'casserole' lamb is also a great option.

Should You Brown Lamb for Curry?

You will want to brown your lamb when pre-cooking it for a curry. It might take a little longer, but you'll get a little caramelization from the Maillard reaction, increasing that 'meaty' taste. What's more, browned lamb looks a little more visually appealing and will cook through a little faster.

How Do You Make Lamb Tender in Curry?

Pre-cooking your lamb is the most effective way to ensure it is tender in curry. The key is to cook it over medium heat until such a time as the collagen and connective tissues break down. This can take over an hour, but the end results are well worth it.

My Lamb is Tough, What Should I Do?

If your lamb is tough, it is an easy fix. It simply means that it hasn't cooked for long enough. You can also consider turning up the heat slightly to ensure that those fatty tissues dissolve and turn soft. Add a little more water or stock, turn up the heat, and be patient.

Pre-cooked Lamb for Curry | Final Thoughts

There are plenty of reasons to give pre-cooked lamb for curry a go. It is simple to make, will save you money and will take your curry dishes to the next level! It also happens to be how they make lamb curries in Indian restaurants, so you'll be utilizing an authentic BIR technique. Looking for other ways to make your curry taste great, why not check this article out?

Enjoy Making Curry Yourself?

Hey folks, thanks for reading this article. I hope you found it useful, and that you learned something new allowing you to make your curry extra special. Here are a few things that can really elevate your curry game to the next level. 

These are affiliate links, so if you use them I receive a small commission, but this won't cost you any extra. In all honesty, I use very similar items myself, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to my friends.

A Complete Curry Kit: - Literally, everything you'll need to make curry all in one place. Cookware, storage, utensils, even the spices! This is my dedicated guide to getting you up and running all for the price of few takeaways.

Curry pans: - You need one, and one only. A frying pan exactly like this is really easy to use, and is exactly the type that authentic Indian chefs use to make the type of curry that you'll have in your local takeaway. You can see my full reviews of several pans right here...

Spice Storage: - Being organised is half the battle in making great curry. Spices can be notoriously hard to keep tidy. That's why I tend to use a spice rack like this. You can arrange your spices by size, heat, or any way you choose. I've got a detailed review of several Indian spice racks in this guide.

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