Tamarind Glazed Lamb Shanks

, from Issue #60. May, 2016
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Tamarind Glazed Lamb Shanks

Coated in a rich aromatic Asian sauce, these meltingly tender lamb shanks pair well with Asian flavours and are delicious served with a bowl of satiny orange kumara mash.

Serves: 4–6


4-6 lamb shanks
sea salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons kecap manis
½ teaspoon ground Chinese 5-spice
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
⅓ cup tamarind concentrate
2 cups beef stock
2 limes, halved
fresh coriander (optional)


Preheat the oven to 150°C. 

Season the lamb with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish or saucepan.

Brown the shanks on all sides then set aside.

Pour off all the fat from the pan, leaving any sticky bits behind.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil along with the onions, garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the brown sugar and fish sauce and cook for a few minutes, until it starts to caramelize. Add the kecap manis, 5-spice, chilli, tamarind and the stock and bring to the boil. 

Return the lamb shanks to the casserole then place a piece of baking paper over the meat. Cover tightly and braise for 3-4 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. 

If the sauce is thin, carefully remove the shanks to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Then boil the liquid until reduced and glossy, and pour over the shanks. Serve with lime wedges, coriander and kumara mash if desired. 

Pantry Note: Kecap Manis (pronounced Ketchup Manis) is a sweetish, thick soy sauce made with palm sugar and seasoned with star anise and garlic. It is used as a condiment or as a substitute for dark soy sauce. Available in the international section of supermarkets or at Asian food stores.