Afghani lamb and spinach curry

Slivered almonds and lemon zest add an extra dimension to this savoury, satisfying curry.

  • 2 hrs cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print


  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 kilogram lamb shoulder, trimmed, diced into 3cm pieces
  • 1 (200g) brown onion, chopped finely
  • 4 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 400 gram chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cup (500ml) beef stock
  • 150 gram baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup (45g) toasted slivered almonds


  • 1
    Heat half the oil in a large saucepan; cook lamb, in batches, until browned all over. Remove from pan.
  • 2
    Heat remaining oil in same pan; cook onion, garlic and spices, stirring, until onion softens.
  • 3
    Return lamb to pan with undrained tomatoes and stock; simmer, covered, for 1 hour 45 minutes. Uncover; simmer for a further 15 minutes or until sauce thickens and lamb is tender.
  • 4
    Add spinach and rind; stir over heat until spinach just wilts. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 5
    Sprinkle curry with almonds and serve with Afghani bread, if desired.


This is a mild curry, perfect for those starting out in the world of curries. Sandwiched between the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan's food has been influenced by the cuisines of all the countries in these areas. In this recipe, its Iranian and Turkish influences are shown by the addition of nutmeg and cinnamon, while the rich, thick sauce from the combined tomato, stock and spinach resemble a traditional Indian curry. The tender green leaves of spinach are often added to soups, stir-fries and curries just before serving.

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