1. Firstly marinade the lamb. In a large bowl mix together the yogurt and turmeric. Add the lamb and rub all over massaging it into the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight (if you have time).
2. Remove the lamb from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while you start the masala. Gently heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the fenugreek seeds, cloves, green cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and dried red chillies.
3. In a pestle & mortar slightly grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds.
4. Keep an eye on the masala in the pan and once they start sizzling add the coarsely crushed seeds.
5. Once they begin to sizzle add the onions. Stir well and allow to cook until they have turned soft and are starting to change colour to light golden brown.
6. Add the garlic, ginger and all the chillies and allow to cook for a further minute.
7. Stir in the coriander powder, fennel powder and chilli powder (if using) and add a few tablespoons of water to prevent the spices from burning.
8. Allow the masala to cook, leaving the spices to release their essential oils and aromas. This will take a few minutes and you will start to see a little oil rising to the surface. Stir often until it looks like all the masala has released most of its oils, adding a little more water if it starts to stick.
9. Add the marinated lamb.
10. Stir well and add the chopped tomatoes and sugar.
11. Top with enough water so it is just below the lamb. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for at least 30 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so, stir the masala to ensure nothing is sticking to the base of the pan.
12. Once the essential oils have risen to the surface, stir through the coriander.
13. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar.
14. Serve with more fresh coriander sprinkled on top, and with some pilau rice.
Anjali’s Tip: The longer the masala cooks with the lamb, the better, and because you are using lamb shoulder it will remain tender even if you cook it for longer than 30 minutes.