Spiced Whole Leg of Lamb

This dish can be made either in the oven or cooked on the hob, whichever is more convenient. It could be described as an exotic alternative to the British roast, the main difference being the infusion of spices and the succulent texture achieved by allowing the flavours to marinate for several hours. In India, a whole leg of lamb is an indulgence, so it is usually only cooked in affluent households or on special occasions.

  • 1.75-2.25 kg (4-5 lb) Whole Leg of Lamb excess fat trimmed
  • 3 Garlic Cloves finely grated
  • 8 cm (3 inch) piece Fresh Ginger finely grated
  • 2 tbsp Green Papaya finely grated (optional)
  • 4 tbsp Natural Yoghurt
  • 1-2 tsp Salt
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) Oil
  • 2 medium Onions weighing about 225 g (8 oz), sliced

For the Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp Cloves
  • 1 tsp Whole Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Whole Coriander Seeds
  • 8 cm (3 inch) Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Bay Leaves

For the Garnish

  • 2 Fresh Tomatoes quartered
  • Fresh Coriander finely chopped
  • 2 Green Chillies sliced into julienne strips
  • 3 Spring Onions coarsely chopped

Serves 6-8

First make the spice mix by dry roasting the cloves, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cinnamon and bay leaves in a non-stick pan until lightly browned. Allow to cool, then grind to a fine powder, either in an electric grinder or in a pestle and mortar.

Put the garlic, ginger and papaya in a large, shallow bowl, add the yoghurt and salt to taste, mix well, then add the spice mix. Using a sharp knife, make incisions all over the lamb. Place in the bowl and rub the marinade into the meat, making sure it penetrates the gashes, then marinate for 2-4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The longer th emeat marinates, the better the flavour.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Put the lamb in a greased roasting tin. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and fry the onions until golden brown, then pour both the oil and the onions over the lamb, reserve some for garnishing. Pour 450 ml (3/4 pint) water into the roasting tin, cover with foil, and place in the oven. Roast for a total of 2-2.5 hours, until the joint is completely tender and cooked evenly throughout. reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 after 20 minutes, and turn the joint over 20 minutes, basting it to keep the meat moist. Forty-five minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the foil in order to brown the joint. Add garnish ingredients to the roasting tin 5 minutes before the end of cooking time. Allow th emeat to stand, covered loosely with foil, for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the garnish and reserved onions.

Reza's Book

Buy Hardback Buy Paperback