Sarawak Curry with Lamb Recipe

Sarawak Curry of Lamb

Sarawak Curry with Lamb Recipe

The Lamb Curry you see pictured above features my home-made Malaysian style Sambal Belacan as a curry paste, and, given the spirit of the dish, I have named it after Sarawak, which is a state in Malaysia. I don’t know if they actually cook anything like this there but obviously they are going to have to start now…

Ingredient Notes

The Ingredients for Sarawak Curry
The Ingredients for Sarawak Curry

The spirit of this dish really requires the unique flavors of the Dried Shrimp Paste known as Belacan for full effect. You can incorporate this using my Homemade Sambal Belacan (shown at the bottom right of the above picture), but, otherwise, you can substitute my paste for any Curry Paste you like.

The Method

Grilling Zucchini Slices
Grilling Zucchini Slices

First, lightly grill the zucchini slices on a barbecue or ridged pan until partly cooked and showing some nice grill marks. You can omit this step if you like, but doing so adds a different, slightly smoky, depth of flavor to the finished dish.

Frying Lamb with Onion and Sambal Belacan
Frying Lamb with Onion and Sambal Belacan

Heat a tablespoon or so of cooking oil in a pan over high heat and sauté the lamb pieces until nicely browned. Add the Sambal Belacan and stir until it coats the meat and has given off its aroma. Now, add the onion and continue to stir and toss until the onion pieces are only just beginning to soften.

Finishing Sarawak Curry with Coconut Milk
Finishing Sarawak Curry with Coconut Milk

Add the coconut milk, the zucchini slices and the tomato and allow the mixture to come to light bubbling boil. Continue to stir and allow the milk to reduce by about a third to produce a semi-dry curry.

Sarawak Curry served with Rice
Sarawak Curry served with Rice

You can serve your Sarawak Curry it immediately, or of you prefer, let it cool and keep overnight to let the flavors really develop.  Here, you can see one portion served with Spiced Apricot Almond Rice.

Your Recipe Card:

Sarawak Curry Recipe

This Sarawak Curry Recipe features Lamb and uses a fiery Homemade Sambal Belacan as a Curry Paste to capture the spirit of Malaysian cuisine.
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Malaysian
Keyword: Curry, Lamb, Sambal Belacan, Tomato, Zucchini
Author: John Thompson


  • ¾ lb. of fresh lamb sliced and cut into small pieces;
  • 1 small Zucchini halved and sliced on the bias;
  • 1 medium tomato de-seeded and sliced in to strips;
  • 1 small onion cut vertically into wedges and the layers separated;
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk; and
  • 4 generous tablespoons of Sambal Belacan.


  • Lightly grill the Zucchini slices on a barbecue or ridge grilling pan.
  • Fry the Lamb in aa tablespoon of oil until browned, then stir in the Sambal Belacan to coat the meat.
  • Add the onions and fry until they begin to soften.
  • Add the Coconut milk, Zucchini slices and the Tomato, and simmer until the milk has reduced and thickened to form a semi-dry Curry.
  • Serve hot, or chill overnight to blend the flavors before reheating for service.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!