Champaran Lamb Handi Curry

I get asked for handi recipes all the time. This lamb champaran curry is one of the best!

When people ask my for ‘handi’ recipes, it could mean a lot of different curries. This champaran lamb handi is one of my favourites though.

The name ‘handi’ refers to the pot that a curry is cooked in though often handis are that in name only. Chefs cook them in a normal frying pan and then serve them in a decorative handi pot.

Not with this recipe! You are going to love champaran lamb handi curry.

One of my favourite lamb curries or even my favourite! Try this!

About champaran lamb handi

So then, as the name implies, this lamb or mutton curry is usually cooked in a clay handi.

If you don’t have one, you can still make this but the clay pot does add a lot to the final presentation and flavour. The curry is traditionally cooked right on the coals in the clay pot that is sealed shut.

It’s one of my all time favourites! The first time you make this, I recommend using a glass lid with a steam hole so you can see what’s going on inside as it cooks.

What to expect when you make this…

An amazing curry, that’s what! 

As you cook the curry in the sealed pot, juices will be released into the pot from the onions and meat.

This might considered a dry curry but it is anything but dry! Probably one of the best sauces in the curry world!

Step by step photos…

Here are a few photos of how to make this lamb handi recipe.

You could also watch the short video clip of it being made. It’s so easy too. Great for the barbecue.

Place all of the ingredients in the pot and stir well to combine. The oil needs to be coating everything!

Get that dough seal on the rim of the pot. Then place the lid on top securely.

I suggest using a glass lid the first time you make this so you can see what’s going on inside.


I normally make it in a handi pot with clay lid like this one. The clay imparts another layer of deliciously rustic flavour. Place the sealed curry right down on the hot coals.

Be sure to watch the video with this recipe above. You want to shake the curry every 10 minutes or so. As the curry cooks, it gets an amazing sauce that you can actually feel when shaking. 

It’s not the traditional way to cook this, but you can also cook on the stove. 3 minutes high heat and then very low heat for the rest of the cook.

Great served over rice or naans.



If you like this lamb handi curry, you might like to try some of these too…

Kashmiri lamb meatballs
Railway lamb curry
7 Ingredient Lamb Curry
Karalan lamb mappas
Curry house style lamb vindaloo
Curry house style lamb rogan josh

Yield: 6

Champaran Lamb Handi Curry

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 5 minutes


125ml (1/2 cup) mustard oil

1 x 5cm (2 inch) cinnamon stick

6 green cardamom pods, bruised

3 black cardamom pods, bruised (optional)

2 Indian bay leaves

4 medium red onions, grated

10 cloves garlic, not skinned, smashed and finely chopped

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tbsp. Kashmiri chilli powder

½ tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground fennel

2 tsp garam masala

6 whole green bird’s eye chillies, slit down the middle

4 whole heads of garlic

900g diced lamb leg on the bone

3 generous tbsp melted ghee


6 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour


It is best to purify the mustard oil first by bringing it to smoking point and letting it cool a bit. Then heat it back up over direct heat and add the whole spices and bay leaves to infuse for about 30 seconds. Take off the heat. Pour half of the mustard oil into your clay pot. If you don’t have one, just use a metal saucepan with a lid. Add the grated onions, chopped garlic, salt and all of the ground spices. Stir well. Add the green chillies, whole heads of garlic and the diced lamb. Pour the remaining mustard oil over it all and stir well so that everything is coated evenly. Now make a soft dough using the flour and a little water. You won’t be eating this so no need to worry too much about it. You just need to seal the pot with it.Run the soft dough all around the rim of the pot and then place the lid on top to seal.Place the sealed pot right on the hot coals at the hottest part of the fire and leave for 3 minutes. Shake the pot to move the ingredients around inside and place on the coals at the lower heat part of the fire. Every ten minutes or so, pick up the pot and give it a few good hard shakes. This will help ensure that the meat cooks without burning to the bottom of the pot. After about 50 minutes, the meat inside will be fall off the bone tender and the heads of garlic will be squeezably soft. Take to the table and remove the lid. This is a real showpiece and the aroma is amazing. Stir in the melted ghee and serve with rice or naans.

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