How To Make Lamb Saagwala – An Indian Restaurant Favourite

This is a lamb saagwala recipe with a difference!

lamb saagwala

A BIR curry you will enjoy serving

I love lamb saagwala and not just because it tastes great. I love it because my kids can’t get enough of the stuff. They actually love eating spinach: a vegetable that used to send them running to their friends’ houses begging for a dinner invitation. Now they proudly eat spinach and enjoy helping me make lamb saagwala too!

This is what cooking for me is all about.


This lamb saagwala recipe works equally as well with mutton, goat and beef


So many restaurants use tinned spinach in their saagwala dishes. In this recipe, I use fresh baby spinach leaves. The spinach is added raw just before serving and stirred into the sauce resulting in a saagwala dish that… well let’s just say you couldn’t ask for better! The curry is both pleasing to look at and eat.

This recipe replaces my British Indian restaurant (BIR) style lamb saagwala which is now only in my ebook. No worries… I’ve tried and tested this new recipe and I think you’re going to love it. In fact, it tastes quite similar to my BIR version and is cooked in a more traditional manner.

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4.0 from 3 reviews
How To Make Lamb Saagwala - An Indian Restaurant Favourite
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 900g (2 pounds) lamb shoulder or leg cut into one inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ghee/vegetable oil
  • 3 large onions - finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste (about 15 cloves of garlic mashed to a paste with a little water.)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste (3 inches ginger - grated and mashed to a paste with a little water.)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400ml)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 250g - about two large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 3 - 6 fresh green chillies (I use a lot)
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. I start by preparing the spinach.
  2. Place all of the spinach, chillies, coriander and lime juice in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. You may need to add just a bit of water to do this. Set aside.
  3. Now heat the ghee/oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. When hot, add the chopped onions and fry for about 15 minutes until translucent and soft but not overly browned.
  5. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and allow to sizzle for about 30 seconds.
  6. Pour in the cumin, coriander powder, garam masala and red chilli powder and stir to combine.
  7. Remove the fried onions from the pan and blend until smooth with the tomatoes.
  8. Pour the onion sauce back into the pan and add the lamb pieces.
  9. Cook for about 40 minutes until the meat is nice an tender. You may need to add a small amount of water if the sauce becomes too dry.
  10. To finish, add the spinach puree you made earlier and stir it into the red curry. I love watching the green and red ingredients blend. It makes me hungry!
  11. Cook for a further two more minutes minutes.
  12. Check for seasoning and add the salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Just before serving, add the yogurt one tablespoon at a time stirring it into the sauce.
  14. Stir in the lime juice and serve.





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  1. says

    Hi Dan, interesting blog. Seems we both love blogging about BIR. There are some recipes on my previous blog also many recreations of chinese recipes too.

    Anyway, one BIR recipe I’ve been trying to find for ages is prawn puri/puree (not sure). It’s my husbands favourite, but not liking prawns I’ve never tasted it and don’t have a clue where to start. Any ideas, or a recipe to follow please?

  2. Michael says

    Also works great with Malabar (Ceylon) spinach or Silverbeet (Swiss Chard) lightly steamed then blended quickly, both widely available in Australia and a lot cheaper than English spinach. I bought a lamb Saagwala from the BIR takeaway up the street as a taste test and I definitely prefer mine.

  3. says

    This looks great :-) I still have a couple of your healthy curry gravy in the freezer so may break one out and try this great sounding dish sometime this week!


  4. Pim says

    This dish looks amazing on the picture! I have been looking around for something that looks like the lamb saag I eat at Anoki and this really does :)
    However, I am wondering where I can find he recipe for the home made curry sauce?
    Also, how do you cook the lamb? It looks like there is meant to be a link that is not working.


    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Pim

      You’re right. The links weren’t working. If you check out the recipe again, you’ll find links to both the cooked lamb and homemade curry sauce. Thanks for checking out my recipes. :)

      • Pim says

        I will try cooking this tonight, don’t have any fenugreek seeds but I hope it won’t make too much difference :)

        Will let you know how it turned out. Thanks for some excellent recipes :)

        • Pim says

          Thanks again, the recipe was amazing!
          Unfortunately it did taste better before I added the saag puree but that was probably because I used lemon instead of lime (and perhaps saag instead of spinach?). I will definitely make it again and make sure I got all the ingredients and enough coriander as I was a bit low on that.
          The base curry sauce will work with any curry and I’m sure I will use it a lot. It’s better than what I have been making before. I’ll keep an eye on your blog for sure! :)

    • Dan Toombs says

      Thank you Tracey. I’m glad you found my site too. :) Keep in touch. I look forward to hearing about the recipes you make on Twitter. Dan

  5. ivan says

    hi dan i have been following your blog for a few weeks now and find your food ,recipes great. never have been a lover of spinach my self but i think i will try this 1 , looks very good and tastey ty mate so looking forward to the bir vids you talked about keep up the good work mate cheers ivan :-)

    • Dan Toombs says

      Thank you very much Ivan. Comments like that make all the blogging worthwhile! I’ll keep the recipes coming. :-)

  6. Tara says

    Downloaded your book and there are some great recipes. Thanks. Lamb saagwala is my faviorate dish and have used your recipe but unfortunately the lime overpowered the dish. Next time I’m leaving out the lime. Can’t wait to try the prawn puri!

    • Dan Toombs says

      Thank you Tara. It is a personal preference thing. I really appreciate you trying the recipe. Just leave out the lime! I’d love to hear what you think of the prawn puri.

  7. Mary says

    Hi there, this dish was fab! Unfortunately too much garam masala gave an overpowering star anise taste, so next time less of that and much more spinach! Mine didn’t look as green as yours. I will defiantly be trying more of your recipes. Cheers from New Zealand

  8. Alistair Morrell says


    I made your curry house style chicken jalfrezi and it was amazing. I have tonnes of the curry sauce left to use, so was planning to try your Lamb bhuna and Chicken Methi recipe too. Do you have any beef curry recipes that I can use the curry sauce with?


    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Alistair

      Thank you very much. You can really use that sauce with any of my recipes. Add it hot to any curry and then adjust the spices to your liking.


  9. nick says

    Hi dan, Just wanted to say thanks for putting up this website however long ago it was now. I remember must have been maybe 2007 or 8 as I stumbled across your BIR section in a text only blog post and finally i could make this delightful dinner to my hearts desire. Had been making all kinds of others with the aid of mystery jars of (roganjosh, butterchick, korma, etc) you get from the supermarket but was immediately sold on your from scratch base sauce method. Particularly since there was no magic jar of saag anywhere!? Anyway fast forward a couple years and i started an amazon account to buy my one and only ebook and despite a year or so hiatus where i forgot which email address i used for that account I’m back in the drivers seat again.

    I just had one quick question tho regarding a butter chicken shortcut: With the yogurt/cilanto/spice marinade set asside and all good to go I’m basically seeing the stock gravy mix plus bay leaf cardamom star anise &cinnamon with the obligatory cream and butter at the end right? Wont be able to get any curry leaves i dont think anywhere so thats too bad but oh well

    thanks again

    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Nick

      That’s right. Cream and butter at the end. Don’t worry about the curry leaves. Most butter chicken recipes don’t include them. Thanks for stopping by.


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