Chicken/Kuku or lamb shora/shorba/curry

As many of you will know, there are many different types of curries. Bhuna has very little gravy, rus misah (Punjabi) has a medium amount of gravy and then there is the thin shora (Punjabi), shorba (Urdu), not to be confused with shurba, an arabic stew made with meat and oats.

Shorba is popular with many as it is stocky and full of flavour and feeds a family of five without straining the budget! This can be paired with meat or vegetable pilaos, but is equally delicious with bread and chapattis.

I remember my maternal grandpa (nana) would break pieces of roti into a deep bowl. My grandma (nanee) would ladle over a generous amount of the shorba mix, to be soaked up by the chapattis making them soft, pliable and very enjoyable. My family still mimics this when they eat shorba with chappattis.

The recipe below is 90% how my nanee used to make it and has been shared by one of her grand-daughters. Enjoy!


  • 12oz (300g) new potatoes (Maris piper or baking potatoes if in the UK)
  • 2lb (1Kg) chicken with bones cut into pieces or
  • 2lb (1Kg) lamb shoulder/leg cut into pieces
  • 3ozs (85g) grated or v finely chopped onion
  • 8 tbs cooking oil
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 7oz (200g) crushed fresh or tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp red chillie powder (adjust to taste)
  • half tsp turmeric
  • 4 tbs freshly chopped green coriander
  • 3 tsp whole roasted cumin
  • 2 fresh green chillies
  • 1 tsp garam masala


  1. Boil some water and keep aside.
  2. Peel and wash the potatoes and place in a pan, pour boiling water over them, if new potatoes boil for 8 mins, if using others boil for 5 mins, switch off and leave in the hot water.
  3. Wash the chicken/lamb pieces in cold water and keep in a colander to drain well.
  4. Put the oil into a wide pan, add the onions and cook on medium heat until they turn golden brown, add the ginger and garlic, and cook together for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, red chillies and turmeric, stir well and bhun until all liquids dry up and oil separates.
  6. Add chicken/lamb pieces, stir well with a wooden or plastic spoon, add half a cup of water.
  7. If using chicken, cook covered on a medium/high heat for 10-12 minutes (in the UK). Stir from time to time adding 2 tbs of water at a time if needed. Chicken will be ALMOST done.
  8. If using lamb, add 2 cups of water and pressurise for 10 mins, or add 3 cups of water cook covered on low heat for 25 mins or until meat is almost cooked,
  9. Now bhun the chicken/lamb until any remaining liquid dries up and masala begins to stick to the meat and the mixture changes to a darker colour, should take 7-8 mins (will depend on the amount of liquid remaining). This stage will determine the colour of your shorba.
  10. Drain the liquid from the potatoes and add to the meat mixture.
  11. Add 3 – 4 cups of boiling water, wait for the mixture to boil then add half the coriander, the cumin (rub between palms to release flavour) and green chillies. Keep on a low rolling boil for 5-7 minutes.
  12. Switch off and leave covered for 5 minutes, the oil should rise to the top. (you can take some oil off at this stage and discard if you choose to).
  13. Using a ladle, remove the shorba into a deep serving bowl, sprinkle the garam masala and the remaining fresh coriander and it’s ready to be taken to the table! 


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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