Tandoori Lamb Cutlets

1:48 am on 25 August 2007

Historically, tandoori referred to food cooked in a tandoor, a wood-fired clay oven. Often these dishes were marinated in a yoghurt and spice mix (yoghurt masala) which has lead to this style of marinating being called tandoori. I ate New Zealand lamb cutlets cooked in this style at Masala Bay restaurant in Mumbai.

If you like, serve these with coriander chutney (see page 114 of the latest Cuisine magazine), replacing half the coriander with fresh mint. Great for finger food, they can also be served as a main course with rice and vegetables, with 3-4 cutlets per person. I use a teaspoon of Kashmiri chilli powder, which is bright red and mild. If you have a hot chilli powder, use the lesser amount.


  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
  • seeds from 6 green cardamom pods
  • 3 cm piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • ½-1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 cup (250g) one cup natural yoghurt
  • 16 small lamb cutlets (around 750g)


Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and dry-fry the seeds, cinnamon and cloves for 1 minute until fragrant. Cool. Place in a spice blender or mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli powder and grind to a paste. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the yoghurt.

Place the lamb cutlets in a non-metal dish and pour the yoghurt masala over. Stir to coat the lamb well. Cover and leave to marinate 2 hours at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat the grill or barbecue to very hot then cook the cutlets for 2 minutes each side until browned.

© Cuisine, used with permission

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