Lamb Bhuna is a classic lamb curry recipe, traditionally made by slow cooking lamb with spices, onions and tomatoes. The Instant Pot version of this recipe can be in under an hour, resulting in beautiful rich gravy that clings on to the lamb pieces, redolent with spices.
Lamb bhuna or ‘bhuna ghosht’ is a classic lamb curry that is traditionally prepared by slow cooking the lamb with the spices, tomatoes and onions. The word ‘bhuna’ literally translates to saute or stir fry. Lamb bhuna is unique in that the meat cooks in its own juices. The curry is made with a base of sautéed onions, tomatoes, spices which are cooked in their own liquids, with the need for any added water. This results in succulent and tender lamb pieces, and a gravy that is rich enough to coat the lamb chunks beautifully.
Lapped up with soft naans, a vegetable pulao or just plain basmati rice, this is a meal that is perfect for the colder months, and one that makes it to our weekend menu very often.
Should I use the Instant Pot or Cook Lamb Bhuna on the stovetop?
I have made this recipe in both the Instant Pot and on the stove top. I prefer the Instant Pot method for its quickness, as pressure cooking tenderises the meat and cooks it in half the time that stove-top cooking takes. But if you want to make the curry the traditional way, you can make it on the stove-top as well. The masalas do get the time to mature and the gravy gets a good depth of flavour.
If you are using the Instant Pot, use the ‘Saute’ function to sauté the onions and bay leaves in the oil, until the onions start to soften and turn translucent.
Then add the meat along with the spices and ginger and garlic paste. The meat is then sautéed in the spices and then the canned tomato is added in. Finally, season with some salt and let the meat pressure cook using the ‘Manual’ function of the Instant Pot (in newer model of the Instant Pot, this is the ‘Pressure’ button). Pressure cooking renders the meat succulent and tender. Finally, you could finish off the dish with some chopped coriander leaves or a fresh sprig of mint.
This Instant Pot Lamb Bhuna is ridiculously simple, yet utterly delectable and is the perfect way to indulge over the weekend, or just to get rid of those mid-week blues!
Instant Pot Lamb Bhuna
- Vegetable oil for sautéing
- 2 large onions chopped
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1.5 teaspoons Ginger-Garlic paste
- 750 grams lamb chunks
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder use Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fennel powder
- 1.5 cups canned chopped tomatoes
- Salt, to taste
Instant Pot Method:
- Turn the IP to 'Sauté' mode in the 'More' setting. Add the vegetable oil, followed by the chopped red onions and the bay leaves. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, followed by the lamb cubes, and all the spice powders (cumin, coriander, garam masala, fennel, red chili powder) and continue to stir. The lamb will release its liquids. Add the canned tomatoes and stir it well with the rest of the ingredients. Make sure you scrape up any bits of onion or ginger-garlic paste that may adhere to the bottom of the inner pot. Add the salt and stir to combine.
- Put on the lid of the IP, and with the valve in 'sealing' position, switch to 'Manual' mode, in 'High' setting. Set the time for 5 minutes. Let the lamb pressure cook, and let the steam release naturally (do not open the valve to release steam, let the vent go down on its own) for 10 minutes. Then, lift the vent to release any residual steam.
- In a crock-pot of heavy-bottomed pot on the stove top, heat the oil and add the chopped onions and bay leaves. Fry over medium heat until the onions start to turn translucent and the bay leaves release their aroma.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, followed by the lamb cubes, and all the spice powders (cumin, coriander, garam masala, fennel, red chili powder) and continue to stir. The lamb will release its liquids.
- Add the canned tomatoes and stir it well with the rest of the ingredients. Make sure you scrape up any bits of onion or ginger-garlic paste that may adhere to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the salt and stir to combine.
- Put on the lid of the pot and simmer on low heat for 1 hour to 1 ¼ hours until the meat has tenderised and the sauce has thickened. You will need to check the curry at least a couple of times to make sure the bottom of the pot is cooking evenly. Stir it ocassionally to ensure the sauce doesn't burn at the bottom.
- Once cooked, open the lid of the IP and take out the lamb curry. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander or mint leaves. Serve with rice or naan.