Sin­ga­pore's culi­nary doyenne Vi­o­let Oon, of Vi­o­let Oon Sin­ga­pore, delves into her archive of trea­sured recipes


Sin­ga­pore’s culi­nary doyenne Vi­o­let Oon, shares some of her trea­sured recipes

Hot Lamb Shank or Mut­ton Curry

Serves 4 to 6 MEDIUM

Says chef Oon, “This curry is best eaten at least a day af­ter cook­ing to al­low the flavours to fully develop. Re­heat by slow cook­ing on the stove or in the mi­crowave oven."

2 whole lamb shanks (or 1 kg leg

of mut­ton)

2L boil­ing wa­ter

200g + 20g old ginger

3 large Bom­bay onions, peeled

6 cloves gar­lic, peeled

100g meat curry pow­der (store­bought) 4 to 5 cups ad­di­tional wa­ter

6 tbsp veg­etable oil

3 sprigs curry leaves

3 tbsp canned tomato purée

5 whole green chillies, halved


5 whole red chillies, halved length­wise 3 ripe to­ma­toes, quar­tered

2 tsp salt

Juice of 5 li­mau kes­turi or

cala­mansi limes

125g yo­ghurt, op­tional


1 sprig curry leaves

2 red chillies, cut into 4-cm lengths 2 green chillies, cut into 4-cm lengths 1 cup veg­etable oil

1. Cut the mut­ton into large 4-cm cubes; if us­ing lamb shanks, leave them whole. Cut the 200g of ginger into 2cm pieces and smash them to re­lease the flavours.

2. Boil about 2L of wa­ter in a wok, or enough to cover the meat. Add the ginger and bring to the boil. Add in the meat and bring to a boil again for 15 to 20 mins if us­ing mut­ton. For lamb shanks, boil for 10 mins. Drain the meat and dis­card the wa­ter. (This helps to re­duce the gamey smell of the meat and gets rid of ex­cess blood.)

3. Mean­while, place the large onions, 20g ginger and gar­lic into a food pro­ces­sor or mor­tar and pes­tle and grind to a fine paste.

4. Mix the curry pow­der with 60ml (4 tbsp) wa­ter to form a thick paste.

5. Heat the oil in the wok, add the onion mix­ture and stir-fry for 5 mins till the spices are fra­grant. Add the curry pow­der paste and fry till fra­grant, about 5 mins, and then add the meat and curry leaves. Stir-fry till the meat changes colour.

6. Add the tomato purée, chillies, cut to­ma­toes and stir-fry for about 1 min.

7. Add the re­main­ing 4 to 5 cups wa­ter and add salt, bring to the boil and turn the heat to medium and sim­mer. Lamb shanks will take around 2 hrs while the tougher mut­ton will take 1 to 2 hrs more. Add more wa­ter if nec­es­sary.

8. When it is ready, the meat should be ten­der and the gravy of a coat­ing con­sis­tency. Add lime juice and yo­ghurt, bring to a boil and sim­mer for 1 min. Turn off heat and ad­just sea­son­ing.

9. Pre­pare the gar­nish. Deep-fry curry for a few sec­onds till the colour changes. Set aside. Deep-fry the chillies till they go limp. Gar­nish and serve.

Hot Lamb Shank or Mut­ton Curry

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