Lamb Shank Braised with Green Curry and Vegetables

Lamb is one of my favorite meats for curry and shanks, especially, simply melt into the spices. This Thai-style curry is so good, though, that you can make it vegetarian and omit the lamb; and you can use any vegetables you like, not just the ones I chose. Note that this dish requires overnight marination.

4 servings

Cooking Methodbraising


Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFormal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course


Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturehot & spicy, meaty, savory


  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds,toasted
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro stems
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh galangal
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh green finger chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 fresh green Thai chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon belacan, or dried shrimp
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 lime leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, smashed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • One 1-inch piece fresh galangal, sliced
  • 2 fresh green Thai chiles
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1¼ cups fresh cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or canned low-sodium broth
  • 1½ cups coconut milk
  • 12 baby carrots, peeled
  • 12 baby turnips, peeled
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and julienned
  • ½ cup fresh peas
  • ½ cup fresh fava beans
  • 2 Thai eggplants, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. To make the curry paste: Put the ingredients in a blender. Blend until the consistency of a fine paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

  2. Rub all but ¼ cup of the curry paste onto the lamb shanks. Cover both the lamb shanks and the curry paste and refrigerate overnight.

  3. Heat half the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Sear until nicely browned, then turn and sear the other side. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  4. Put the lemongrass, galangal, chiles, lime leaves, and ¼ cup of the cilantro leaves in a piece of cheesecloth. Wrap and secure the sachet with kitchen string.

  5. Heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil in a large deep pot or Dutch oven, which can later be covered, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved curry paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the lamb shanks, stock, 1 cup of the coconut milk, and the sachet. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the meat is falling off the bone, at least 1 hour and probably longer.

  6. Remove the meat to another platter, cover, and refrigerate until serving time. Remove the sachet and chill the sauce, covered, in the refrigerator. When it has chilled, remove the fat with a spoon.

  7. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with water and ice and set aside. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the remaining cilantro leaves (reserving the sprigs for garnish). As soon as the water returns to a boil, drain the leaves and transfer to the ice water, reserving the cooking liquid. When cold, drain again, and put the leaves in a blender with 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid. Purée until smooth and set aside.

  8. Fill a large bowl with water and ice and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots, turnips, scallions, peas, and beans and cook just until tender, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to the ice water, drain, and set aside.

  9. Bring the skimmed sauce back to a steady simmer in a large saucepan. Add the meat and eggplant and cook until the meat is reheated and the eggplant tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro purée and remaining ½ cup coconut milk.

  10. . Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, turnips, scallions, peas, and beans, season to taste with salt, and sauté to reheat.

  11. . Put the lamb in the center of the serving plates. Spoon the eggplant and green curry sauce and the sautéed vegetables around the lamb, garnish with cilantro sprigs, and serve.

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