Lamb Bhuna is a classic lamb curry recipe, traditionally made by slow-cooking lamb with spices, onions, and tomatoes. This recipe a quick version of lamb curry, made in the Instant Pot in 30 minutes.
(This recipe was first published in October 2018, and has been updated with new images and instructions)
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. In this recipe, 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. You will have succulent and tender lamb pieces, and a gravy that is rich enough to coat the lamb chunks beautifully!
Lapped up with soft Indian naan, or just basmati rice, this is a comforting meal that makes it to our weekend menu very often.
List of Ingredients
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 start to brown. Then add the ginger and garlic paste (or minced ginger and garlic), and turn off the Instant Pot.
There will be residue at the bottom of the pot, as a result of browning the onions. Add a tablespoon of water and deglaze the pot to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
Then add the lamb pieces along with the spices and canned tomatoes. Add the salt and mix it all well together.
Set the Instant Pot to 'Pressure Cook' mode and cook for 8 minutes. Note that the time for cooking the lamb will vary by the cut of lamb - for lamb chops, cook for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to release completely before opening the lid of the Instant Pot.
Tips for making Instant Pot Lamb Curry
Marinate the lamb - Marinate the lamb in the spices and ginger garlic paste (or minced garlic and ginger) for 30 minutes or overnight for more tender and flavorful meat.
Deglaze the Instant Pot - Make sure you deglaze the Instant Pot with 1-2 tablespoons of water after browning the onions. Skipping this step can cause the Instant Pot to trigger the ' Food Burn' error.
Adjust the Pressure Cooking time -The cooking time needs to be adjusted according to the cut of lamb you are using. For boneless lamb pieces, pressure cook for 8 minutes, with natural pressure release. For lamb chops, pressure cook for 15 minutes with natural pressure release.
Made ahead - Nearly all curries mature with flavour. Make the lamb bhuna a day ahead and keep it in the refrigerator, and the flavor will improve by the next day. Lamb curry is also great for freezing - you can store it in the freezer for upto 2 months.
Lamb bhuna or bhuna ghost is a lamb curry from North India. The word 'bhuna' literally means 'to be fried'. In the traditional lamb bhuna, the spices are first fried or sauteed and then the meat is added and cooked with the ingredients for the sauce. The sauce is thickened by slow-cooking the meat, until it is reduced and coats the meat well.
I have made this recipe in both the Instant Pot and on the stovetop. I prefer the Instant Pot method for its quickness, as pressure cooking tenderizes 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 flavor.
More Indian Recipes made in the Instant Pot
Instant Pot Lamb Bhuna
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil or use ghee
- 1 kg Lamb boneless lamb, cut into cubes
- 1 Onion (red or yellow) diced
- 2-3 Whole bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste or use minced ginger and garlic
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder use Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel powder
- ¾ can canned chopped tomatoes 25-oz can of tomatoes
- Salt, to season
Instant Pot Method:
- Turn the IP to 'Sauté' mode in the 'More' setting. Add the vegetable oil (or ghee), followed by the chopped red onions and the bay leaves. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, followed by 1 tablespoon of water. Hit Cancel on the Instant Pot and delgaze the pot. Make sure there is no residue stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the lamb, all the spice powders (turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, fennel, red chili powder), salt and mix well. Add the canned tomatoes and stir it well with the rest of the ingredients.
- Put on the lid of the IP, and with the valve in 'sealing' position, switch to 'Pressure Cook' (or Manual) mode, in 'High' setting. Set the time for 8 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). Once all the steam has released, open the Instant Pot. if you want the sauce/gray to thicken further, simmer for 4- minutes in Saute more before serving the Lamb Bhuna.
- In a 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 45 mins to 1 hour 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.