Scrummy Coconut Lamb Curry (Paleo, Whole30)

This hearty paleo lamb curry is a bit of fusion but is primarily Indian in flavour. It’s very easy to make and can be done in a slow-cooker and frozen. Serve with cauliflower rice!


Lamb Curry With Coconut (Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

This gorgeous lamb curry was an experiment that went very very right. I bought some diced lamb and decided to make an Indian type of curry, except I didn’t have a recipe in mind. I pulled out my spice kit, some coconut milk and pulled together this little wonder of a dish. It was super scrummy and has now been requested to become a regular weekly dish in our home. I hope you like it!

LAMB CURRY INGREDIENTS

For this yummy coconut curry, I am using diced lamb meat (with a little fat) from the shoulder but you could also get the leg or other parts. I find that the shoulder and leg of lamb meat is less tender but more flavourful and is great for slow cooking and stews.

Garam masala is a warm, earthy Indian spice blend that typically consists of coriander seed, cumin, black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, fennel and bay leaves. Sometimes, it will have cinnamon or caraway seeds. You can get it from most supermarkets, Indian stores, or make your own. By the way, it’s not too spicy but you can remove the red chilli to make it even less spicy if cooking for the kids.

I used full-fat coconut milk from a can (look for 50-60% coconut content) and not coconut milk drink!!! Those are diluted and are too thin and often sweetened.

NUTRITION BREAKDOWN 

If you’re feeling a little lethargic lately, you need this curry!!! It’s full of B Vitamins (especially B12 we need for energy), iron and other minerals. It’s low in carbohydrates (17 grams with 4-5 grams in dietary fibre) and high in fat and protein (35 grams), making it a satiating meal and great fuel post-workout or when you’re sick. All-in-all, this is what I like to call a nutrient-dense dish, so definitely put it on your menu. Full macros and micronutrients can be found below the recipe. 

HOW TO MAKE COCONUT LAMB CURRY

I have provided both the stovetop and the slow cooker methods in the recipe below. The key is to give this curry enough cooking time for the meat to get nice and tender and for all the flavours to develop together. 

This curry freezes really well and serves for excellent quick leftover dinners (defrost overnight in the fridge or use a microwave) or you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheat really well when serving.

Paleo Lamb Curry Stew Recipe

WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS CURRY

I served this particular coconut lamb curry with steamed broccoli for me and white rice and veggies for my partner. Sometimes, I serve it with simple cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles. 

For a high-carb meal, you could also serve it with regular rice (I like Basmati as it has a lower GI) or with quinoa.

 

MORE RECIPE YOU MIGHT LIKE

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Quick & Easy Pumpkin Chicken Curry
Hearty Paleo Beef Stew
Homemade Japanese Chicken Curry

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Paleo Lamb Curry Coconut Recipe

Scrummy Coconut Lamb Curry

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 50 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Curry
  • Method: Braised
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description

This is a very hearty, warming lamb curry that is perfect with cauliflower rice or regular rice if you eat it. You can use beef, goat or chicken thigh meat instead of beef.


Scale

Ingredients

1 tablespoon coconut oil
700 grams / 1.5 lb diced lamb (a little fat on the meat is fine)
1 large brown onion, diced
1/2 long red chilli, finely diced
2 medium celery sticks, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 1/2 teaspoons garam masala powder
1 1/4 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ghee (or extra coconut, if avoiding dairy)
400 ml coconut milk (1 can or 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup of water
1 + 1/3 teaspoons sea salt
2 medium carrots, diced
A squeeze of lime or lemon juice

Fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley to garnish


Instructions

Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a casserole pot or a large saucepan. Add the lamb and stir on high heat until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the onion, chilli and celery and cook for about a minute, until slightly softened. Bring the heat down to medium. Add garlic, garam masala, turmeric, fennel seeds and ghee (or extra coconut oil if avoiding dairy). Stir through the lamb and cook for a minute to let the spices release their aromas.

Add coconut milk, tomato paste, water and sea salt. Stir and bring to boil. Then turn the heat down to simmer and cook for 1 hour, covered with a lid. Stir a couple of times.

After one hour, add the diced carrot and cook for a further 30-40 minutes, covered with a lid. Stir a few times.
Sprinkle some fresh coriander or parsley and drizzle a little lemon or lime juice before serving.

Serve with your favourite vegetables or cauliflower rice, or real white rice if your heart so desires.

Slow Cooker Method

If your inner pot is metal and heat-proof (i.e. not ceramic), you can do the first few steps on the stove first. It’s pretty easy and you will only need 5 minutes for this. You basically want to brown off everything before setting the slow cooker on. Otherwise, if it is a ceramic crockpot, then do the first few steps in a saucepan first and then transfer the mix to the slow cooker pot. Cover with a lid and set the slow cooker to 8-9 hours on LOW, 5-6 hours on MEDIUM, 3.5-4 hours on HIGH. If adding carrots later, do it in the last 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the heat setting).

Once done, sprinkle some fresh coriander/cilantro or parsley and drizzle a little lemon or lime juice before serving. Serve with your favourite vegetables or cauliflower rice, or real white rice if your heart so desires.


Delicious Coconut Lamb Curry (Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Whole30)

Comments

87 Comments
  1. I tried this recipe and all I can say is Yummmm. I added some agave necter to sweetenit and ended up adding more coconut milk as mine reduced quite alot. This was a huge hit with the family and added onto the favorites list. Super easy to make. Thanks for this tasy and scrummy recipie.

  2. Hi Irey,
    Big fan!
    Wondering whether or not this dish would work in a slow cooker?
    What modifications would I have to make – I’ve been told you add a little more moisture if you’re slow cooking all day.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Max,

      Yes, you can definitely make this in a slow cooker. I would add a little more water or vegetable stock and then before you serve in the evening, I would simmer it for 10-15 minutes, uncovered with a little more coconut cream/milk in it. This will thicken and caramelised the sauce slightly.

      Irena

      1. Irena,
        I made this in the slow cooker yesterday and came home to the best smelling apartment in Australia.
        I added peeled and diced, medium size sweet potato to get an extra serve out of it as well.
        TASTES AMAZING.
        Thank you so much.
        M

        1. Fantastic! I haven’t made it in a slow cooker yet so it’s great to know that someone did and it turned out well. Tell me about the smell – mamammia!

          1. Sooo good!
            Only amendment to the above was 400mL coconut milk (over indulgent?)
            And 500mL veggie stock I had left over.
            I also added green beans and zucchini which made it even more epic!
            Cheers

      2. In a slow cooker, would you just throw in all the ingredients and then leave it on a low temp all day? Or should you brown up the lamb first and then chuck it all in?
        thanks, looking forwarding to making this!

        1. Hi Tamara, personally I would brown the lamb first and maybe even the spices and the onion and the throw the rest in the slow cooker. I think somebody in the comments chain has made it in the slow cooker and they said it turned out great, but I am not sure if they browned their meat. I like to so you release some of the aroma from the spices and caramelise the onion slightly.

        2. Hi Tamara,
          I followed the steps 1-3 as above, and threw everything into the slow-cooker (including some extra veggies) and put it on low for about 10hrs – just make sure you have enough fluid – covering the meat ideally – I had 400mL of coconut milk and 500mL of veggie stock.
          Hope this helps

        3. Hi Tamara,
          I followed the steps 1-3 as above, and threw everything into the slow-cooker (including some extra veggies) and put it on low for about 10hrs – just make sure you have enough fluid – covering the meat ideally

  3. ohh la la ..I’ve been experimenting with curries lately and made some cashew chicken curry as well as butter chicken recently. This lamb curry looks very yummy, I will try it next.

  4. I made this on the weekend in the slow cooker, a double batch and handed out to a friend. They said the best curry they have ever eaten, and they have a lot of curry! And I agree. Awesome recipe thank you!!

  5. My husband said this is the best dish I have ever made. It is now my go to meal as I always seem to have ingredients in my cupboard. Even my 5&2 yr olds love it.

  6. My husband cooked this for me tonight and it was AMAZING!!!!! I just wish we made a double batch! Has anyone tried any other other meats?
    Thanks for another delicious recipe Irena!

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Great husband=great curry! I’ve had comments that people have made it with beef and chicken thighs and it was equally delicious.

      Irena

  7. How would you adapt this to a slow cooker? Do you just toss all the ingredients in and set it to low for a few hours? Or should you brown the meat and combine the ingredients in a skillet before transferring to the crock?
    I’m new to cooking so this recipe overwhelms me a bit but it looks too good not to try! 🙂

    1. I would pan fry the onion and the lamb with the spices until browned slightly and then put everything in the slow cooker together and set to cook for a few hours. Check what the recommendations for lamb are. The last thing you might need to do transfer the cooked lamb stew to a saucepan, bring to boil and cook with no lid on no high for about 10 minutes to reduce slightly. Again, that’s me guessing here as I haven’t done it in a slow cooker yet.

  8. Haha! I love that you experiment and take risks and accidentally discover delicious combinations 🙂
    I am passionate about sourcing fresh produce, and really enjoy my weekly cook-up, but I am strictly a recipe-follower. I completely trust what someone else has created, so thank you for this curry (and the sticky Portuguese chicken – another current favourite!)

  9. So incredibly tasty! And super easy too considering I’m just one person and it makes enough to freeze a few meals. I added two small potatoes with the carrot and wilted some shredded silverbeet into it once it was all done. This is definitely going to be a regular in my rotation 🙂

  10. Hello! I’m planning on making this recipe for a family lunch in a few weeks, I’ve never used a slow cooker before and really want to use it for the first time for this recipe. What would the cooking time be for that?

    Thanks for the help and the awesome recipe!

    1. Hi Phoebe,

      For the slow cooker, I recommend to brown the meat and spices on the stove (either in the slow cooker vessel if it’s heat proof or in a pan), and then once all your ingredients are in, I would set it for around 3 hours on HIGH, 5-6 on MEDIUM, 7-8 on LOW. You might like to also finish it up on the stove on high heat uncovered for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly.

      Irean

      1. I made this a few weeks ago in the slow cooker. My slow cooker seems to cooker meals faster than some recipes suggest, so I cooked mine for 6 hours on low and it was awesome. My whole family loved it 🙂

        1. Thanks for your feedback Jo! I’ve been using my slow cooker more often these days and this is a perfect recipe for that. Glad you all enjoyed it.

  11. Just made this tonight on the stovetop. Same cooking times as above. Excellent recipe. I will triple the quantity next time as this all went right away…no leftovers. Thanks for the recipe.

  12. This looks really tasty! How would you go about cooking it in the slow cooker? Would you still brown the meat and release the spices in the pan before transferring to the slow cooker?
    Thank you!

    1. I would do exactly that ideally but I think that even if you just throw everything in the slow cooker pot and set it to cooke for 6 hours on Low or 3-4 hours on High, you would still get a pretty nice curry.

  13. I just made this recipe and it is absolutely delicious! I made some cauliflower rice to go with it for me and farro for the rest of the family. My 4 year old loved it and my 18 month old got it all pureed because she’s not crazy about meat, but she ate a whole bowl. My husband loved it and my mom asked for the recipe, so she can make it next time. It’s a true winner, thank you so much for sharing it!

  14. When cooking this meal in a slow cooker, do I add the coconut milk in at the beginning or the end of cooking?

  15. Just wanted to say I made this last weekend as part of my batch cooking for the week ahead, and I LOVED it!! And I didn’t even make it correctly – used chicken breast for the meat, accidentally left out the garlic, and somehow didn’t have turmeric on hand. I can’t wait to make it again (the correct way this time) for even more deliciousness!

  16. We made this twice. YUM!!! Lamb is buttery, the good way. The flavors are amazing. I am not a big fan of fennel seeds, I skipped them. My wife added them the second time, they kind of melt away. I did not notice them, so use if you like, or skip. We added diced yam the second time, added with the carrots. Nice addition. Wife is a orange vegetable freak.

    1. Thanks Jason, glad you guys liked it. And thanks for the heads up about the fennel for those that might not like it also. I don’t notice the seeds either 🙂

  17. I love lamb recipes, especially when they turn out to be something my whole family loves!. This one also looks tasty and i hope me and my whole family will definitely love this. I’ll try this for sure .

  18. I made this over the weekend and it was amazing! I was concerned about cooking the lamb for 2 hours, but it came out perfectly cooked. – it was like butter.

    Made an Indian spiced cauliflower rice to go with it which worked perfectly.

    Had leftovers of the curry, and it tasted even better the next day after the flavors melded together even more.

  19. I love how you can play with these recipes and make them your own because Irena does such a fantastic job of offering additional options! I’ve found that I like to use sweet potato in this lamb curry recipe instead of the carrots & celery. I’ve also used different meats like pork or chicken, and it always turns out fantastic!

    1. Thanks Angela! I agree, it’s a great base recipe and you can adapt it in different ways depending on what you have on hand. Glad you enjoyed it!

  20. This is one of my favourite recipes!! Made it time and time again with lamb as well as chicken thighs, ALWAYS bangs. Thank you for sharing :))

  21. Just put this together and is now cooking in the slow cooker! House smells amazing! Used a small amount of Chilli powder to give a little kick but not too much! Cant wait to have for dinner tonight with the family! Thank you

  22. Hi
    I’m wanting to try this with lamb shanks in slow cooker. Would this work? Would I still brown it with seasoning

    1. Hey Natasha, I would brown the lamb shanks without the seasoning and then stir the seasoning in the pot with the onions etc.

  23. My most loved one is the chicken with seeds out of the jack natural product in (yummy) The more seasoned age like curries produced using dried fish which is very solid and rancid, and individuals appear to like acrid and unpleasant tastes instead of sweet stuff.

  24. I made this the other night – I did cook it in stages – so for much longer and it was delicious! I would add a bit more curry than chilli next time but I don’t think I have ever made anything that turned out so good!!

  25. I made the mistake of adding a half a can of tomatoes, which while very tasty still, made it into something similar to the West Indian curries that I have regularly. Ugh, I wanted something different! My fault since it was lovely as just coconut. Great recipe!

  26. Being as we don’t always work from the ideal in this life, first of all, I could not find any lamb in a suitable (i.e. non labor intensive) cut, especially already cubed. Therefore I went with stew beef — 3 pounds of it, versus the 1 1/5 lbs. asked for in this recipe.

    Consequently, due to this unexpected turn of events (ie no lamb, but a double portion of beef instead), I no longer had enough of some of my other ingredients. Thus, I substituted Dannon plain yogurt for one missing can of unsweetened coconut milk, and also added 3/4?c. toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes at the end of the cooking time. I also ran a little shy of Garam Masala spice, so I substituted freshly ground green cardamom in addition, which was very satisfactory.

    I didn’t do the squeeze of lime or lemon juice as a garnish at the end, nor with the fresh cilantro or parsley as a garnish. I used fresh spinach leaves instead (more on that below).

    I went with the crockpot method, thinking that the stew beef might be tough. After 4 hours on “high” (after browning the meat and spices first), I think that was a good call as the meat was nice and tender.

    I used red pepper paste (from a tube), rather than chili peppers, and garlic paste (from a tube) rather than diced garlic cloves.

    Coconut milk can go into a crockpot right at the beginning of its cook time, whereas milk products cannot without breaking down. Therefore, the plain Dannon yogurt went into the curry when the heat was turned off at the end of the 4 hours, along with a generous amount of fresh spinach leaves which got thrown in immediately upon turning off the crock pot. The residual heat was enough to cook the spinach just right. Green spinach and orange carrots made for a nice presentation.

    I would have preferred to do straight coconut milk. It would have been nice to have a stronger taste of coconut without needing to add coconut flakes (but I am pretty sure that coconut milk is more fattening than plain yogurt, so perhaps just as well).

    I had no problem with the carrots being overcooked from being put in immediately at the beginning of the 4-hours in the crock pot. In fact, the carrots were perfect. The crock-pot instruction manual says to put the carrots at the bottom and the meat on top because the carrots take LONGER to cook than meat. FYI.

    I served my family this coconut beef curry with whole grain Basmati rice, as well as with even healthier Kasha (toasted and cooked buckwheat groats). I do try to cook a menu of low carbs, but not strict paleo.

    Thanks for a great recipe, Irena! 5 stars!

  27. A fabulous dish. Hearty and savory with just enough spice to be scrumptious, but not overpowering. A wonderful aroma fills the house, too! The only thing I add is a tad bit of organic corn starch to thicken which, of course, is a Paleo no-no, but I prefer a stew consistency. Delicious comfort food, especially on a winter’s day.

  28. I had made a roast leg of lamb but the lamb was too dry so I cubed it and made this recipe. I added two diced potatoes – one sweet, didn’t have the chili pepper so I added 1/4 tsp of chili powder but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It was very good, the spices were excellent and the chili powder added that little bit of heat on the back of the throat. Served with basmati rice and saag paneer. Since I had another hunk of leg of lamb I made the recipe again today, it’s in the oven on 325 for an hour and then on the stove uncovered to thicken up the sauce. The house smells wonderful on a snow/ice cold weather day.

  29. I’m trying it out right now!! One more hour to go and it smells delicious! I threw in mini potatoes with the carrots instead of using rice. Looking like the perfect paleo stew.

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