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Curried Lamb with Apricots and Almonds

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

This sweet and aromatic curry is based on the traditional sali boti of Parsi cuisine in western India. For the best flavor, use dried Turkish apricots, which will provide a sweet, smooth finish to balance the many spices. You can also use shoulder chops for the lamb, if they are easier to find.


  • 4 lb. lamb shoulder with bone, cut into 2-inch pieces, excess fat trimmed
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed saffron threads (scant 1/2 tsp. threads)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. minced peeled fresh ginger (2-inch piece)
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • 2/3 cup packed dried Turkish apricots
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup no-salt-added canned tomato sauce (from an 8-oz. can)


  • In a 6-quart slow cooker, stir together the lamb, vinegar, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, fennel seeds, cardamom, saffron, cloves, and 1 tsp. salt until the meat is thoroughly coated in the spices.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Scrape the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker. Stir in the apricots, almonds, and tomato sauce. Cover and cook on low until the meat is very tender, about 6 hours. Remove the meat with tongs and separate the meat and bones, discarding the bones. Degrease the sauce, if necessary, by laying a paper towel on the surface to soak up the fat, then remove and discard it. Repeat with another paper towel, if needed. Return the meat to the sauce and season to taste with salt. Serve.

Since the curry is sweet, serve it over cooked long-grain brown rice for a nutty, earthy flavor, or with couscous or steamed, stemmed spinach.


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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • dakkaynak | 02/13/2018

    I was very excited about this slow cooked recipe, but in the end it turned out too fatty/oily. This is not because there is anything wrong with the recipe, of course, but it's the nature of the meat and this cooking style. And it's not the amount that can be dealt with using a paper towel, as the recipe suggests, i had to dump the whole thing into a colander and keep it there for an hour, and there was ~1.5 cups oil in the end. Tasted good, balanced, not sweet as I feared, but won't make again. It's too heavy.

  • BB45 | 06/16/2014

    Cooked this today. i exchanged the almonds for walnuts and lessened the amounts of spices. Other than that it was delicious. Serviced with mashed potato and greens.

  • mclee0033 | 06/10/2014

    I followed the recipe to a T, but wasn't a fan of the spice combination. I'd recommend adding the almonds later, they overpower the other spices otherwise. Won't make again.

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