Got a package of lamb shanks trimmed osso buco style over the weekend, but yesterday when I actually started looking up recipes, we were short of certain ingredients called for in most of the standard versions (notably garlic) and I had to range farther afield. (At least in terms of recipe searches. I didn't feel like heading out to the store just to get garlic.)
Ended up using this recipe as a base for minor improvisation-- mostly powdered spices instead of whole; more apricots and fewer prunes (since I already had a container of chai-mulled dried apricots in the fridge); plain ginger instead of most of the candied ginger.
The flavor balance really does call for some added sweetness-- initially I just used plain ginger from the slices marinating in the jar of mirin in the fridge, but eventually tossed in some chunks of candied ginger as well. I also added a tiny bit of regular molasses, as well as some cranberry chutney and about half of a salt-preserved lime. We didn't have any chiles so this ended up being fairly mild, though I did add a generous spoonful of red pepper paste.
The result was pretty tasty, although it takes several hours of simmering for the sauce's flavor to really come together-- initially it was rather sour/sharp, but eventually almost all of the components simply dissolved into a lovely spicy-sweet thick sauce with lamb chunks and marrowy bits of bone. I think that if I make this again, it'll be in a larger batch-- there are enough leftovers for at least one more dinner, but we ate pretty lightly last night because of fairly large respective lunches.