Lamb Leg Chops In Indian Spices With A Saffron, Yoghurt, Pistachio And Almond Crust

11:30 am on 16 August 2010


  • 1kg lamb leg chops
  • ½ tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon blanched and peeled almonds
  • 1 tablespoon blanched and peeled pistachios
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Pinch saffron powder
  • Pinch of ground cloves


Using the tip of a very sharp knife make small incision into each of the lamb chops. These incisions will allow the spice mix to penetrate the surface and flavour the meat.

Combine the ginger, garlic, salt, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, chilli powder, cloves and lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk the mixture to ensure that all of the spices are evenly combined.

Coat the lamb chops thoroughly in the spice mixture and allow to marinade in a refrigerator for at least four hours.

Place the yogurt, almonds, pistachios and saffron powder into a food processor bowl and pulse quickly until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Remove this mixture from the processor, place into a clean bowl and add the chopped coriander and parsley.

Remove the marinated lamb chops from the refrigerator and allow them to come back to room temperature (about fifteen minutes) before frying on both sides in a hot pan using a small amount of oil. The outside surface should be a deep brown or mahogany colour when finished.

Place the lamb chops onto an oven tray and roast in a hot oven (200°C) for approximately five minutes.

Remove the tray of chops from the oven and coat the top surface of each one with the yoghurt and nut mixture. Drizzle over a little honey and return to the oven for a further two minutes. 

Serve accompanied with

any steamed greens – slender steam broccoli, broccolini, beans or asparagus

Jasmine rice or eggplant ragout.

Stephen Morris’s wine recommendation

Roses based on the traditional Bordeaux grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc) usually have a bit more body and drier tannins than the Pinot Noir based roses; and that is what we want here.

Gladstone09, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, & Malbec blend, from the Wairarapa Kina Beach09, Merlot (with 15% Cab Franc) from Nelson.

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