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RECIPE | The Curry Queen's signature yoghurt and cream lamb curry

Celebrity chef Lucia Mthiyane shares a dish from her new cookbook, 'Kitchen Queen'

28 June 2020 - 00:03 By Lucia Mthiyane
Lucia Mthiyane's signature yoghurt and cream lamb curry.
Lucia Mthiyane's signature yoghurt and cream lamb curry.
Image: Kitchen Queen/Henk Hattingh

Actress, model, jazz singer and self-taught celebrity chef Lucia Mthiyane has just released her first cookbook, Kitchen Queen

She tells us more and shares the recipe for her signature yoghurt and cream lamb curry:

Among family, friends, fans and followers, I have become known not only as the Kitchen Queen, but as their Curry Queen as well. It all started when I decided to experiment with ingredients like butter, amasi, yoghurt and fresh cream. Now I cannot imagine cooking without these ingredients.

I usually cook curries on Sundays, and let me tell you, I get a lot of calls from family and friends asking me if they are invited for lunch! I have stopped posting my "Curry Sunday" pics on social media, because I always end up having a full house and, come Sunday night, I am left with a house full of dirty dishes.

My curries can be best described as a cross between North and South Indian styles. Don't ask me how I came up with adding and combining the different ingredients that I now trust to transform my curries - it was a process of trial and error until I realised I had struck gold. After receiving requests to share my curry secrets, I started to focus some of my cooking classes on teaching others my curry tricks.

For me there is one basic way of cooking the perfect curry. From there on I only adjust the cooking time depending on what kind of curry I am cooking. And one golden tip: always keep a kettle of boiling water handy when you cook curry because when spices stick to the bottom of your pot or pan, you need to quickly loosen them with a dash of boiling water without altering the consistency of your curry sauce.

'Kitchen Queen' by Lucia Mthiyane, published by Human & Rousseau, R375.
'Kitchen Queen' by Lucia Mthiyane, published by Human & Rousseau, R375.
Image: Supplied


This is my signature dish and a golden go-to curry recipe. One of my followers on social media even called it a national treasure. I use plain yoghurt or amasi (sour milk) to make it rich and flavourful. It is also very important to use a good masala.

Serves: 4


200ml plain yoghurt (or use amasi)

500g lamb knuckles

30g butter

30ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

10ml (2 tsp) ginger

15ml (1 tbsp) chopped curry leaves

30ml (2 tbsp) wet masala paste (see recipe below)

Salt and pepper to taste

150ml boiling water

1 tomato, peeled and finely chopped

10ml (2 tsp) tomato paste

200ml fresh cream

30ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh coriander, cooked rice or roti, to serve


  1. In a bowl pour the yoghurt over the lamb knuckles and let it marinade for at least 10 hours, but preferably overnight.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet that has a lid. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, masala, and salt and pepper. Stir through and saute for about 5 minutes until the onion is golden brown.
  3. Add the marinated lamb knuckles and stir through thoroughly. Lower the heat, add the boiling water, stir through and cover with the lid. Let it cook for 1 hour and only lift the lid when stirring from time to time.
  4. When cooked thoroughly, add the tomato and tomato paste, and stir through. Again cover with the lid and let the curry simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. Add the fresh cream and stir through and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with the coriander, and serve the curry with rice or roti.



30ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped fresh garlic

20ml (4 tsp) finely chopped fresh ginger

20g ground cumin

25g ground coriander

125g finely chopped onion

20g garam masala

20g red chilli powder

20g paprika

200g unsweetened dry coconut

Water as needed


  1. Place all the ingredients for the masala paste in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste. Add water if needed.
  2. Keep the paste in an airtight container in a cool place or the fridge.