Paleo Lamb Bhuna [Gluten free, Grain free]

Growing up, curry was the daily meal and I developed a love for all things spicy from a very young age (you’ll know what I mean if you grew up in an Indian home… Dhall and rice with butter for the kids, rinsing the curried meat to get rid of the gravy and mashing it up with potato and rice or roti… You get the idea!). As for pickles and atchar… I could live on those (you’ll find some recipes for pickle on my blog because I couldn’t give them up!). 

‘Bhuna’ is an indication of the cooking method and not special ingredients used. The word originates from the Bengali and Urdu – bhunnā – meaning ‘to be fried’, but ultimately from the Sanskrit word bhrajj, meaning to fry, parch, or roast. This is how a bhuna is made – the spices are fried, then made into a paste in which the meat/vegetables are then fried and cooked. It is a fairly dry dish because the sauce is reduced until it is very thick and ‘sticks’ to the meat. The dish therefore looks like it’s lacking in quantity but don’t be fooled because it is very rich!

This paleo lamb bhuna recipe is now one of my favourites. It’s so rich, full of flavour and fragrant without the chilli being overpowering, although you could up the chilli content according to your taste. Paired with some gluten free naan bread and you’ve got yourself an Indian takeaway meal that’s not only clean but oh-so delicious! 


Recipe for Paleo Lamb Bhuna

Yield: serves 2-3

Prep time: 20 minutes (incl cooling time)

Cooking time: 2 hours

What you need

1 tspn cumin seeds

2 tspns coriander seeds

1 tspn mustard seeds

2 dried red chillies

1 tspn fennel seeds

1 tspn fenugreek seeds

1 tblspn ghee

1/2 large onion, grated

2 tblspns ginger and garlic paste

1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped or 100g tinned chopped tomatoes

600g stewing lamb, diced (you can use leg pieces but I prefer the slow cooking needed with stewing lamb to enhance the flavour)

salt to taste

1 cup water (just boiled)

Optional: 3 tblspns coconut cream

What you need to do

1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the seeds and chillies. Roast for a few minutes – but careful not to burn the spices! Remove from heat, add spices to a bowl and allow to cool. Once cooled, grind using a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar. Set aside.

2. Heat ghee in pot over medium-high heat. When melted, add onions and ginger-garlic. Fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until golden brown.

3. Stir in the ground spice mix and cook for 1 minute. Add lamb, mix well, and fry for about 5-10 minutes.  

4. Add the tomato and salt, mix well. Add the water, turn the heat down to low, cover and allow to simmer gently for a good hour and a half.  

5. Remove the lid, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring continuously. Add coconut cream if using, and keep stirring until the sauce has reduced to the point where it ‘clings’ to the meat.

Serve with some paleo friendly naan and sambals (salad), and enjoy! 

Please note: If you’d like to share this recipe, please do! All I ask is that you link back to this post when you do so. Thank you! 


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