Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Leg of Lamb Tandoori

from An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

Butterfly a whole leg of lamb and cut off all the fat (you can buy the leg already butterflied but it still takes some time and a sharp knife to get the fat off it), then marinate it for 24 hours. You have to make your own garam masala to achieve the authentic tandoori flavor. Grind all your spices from seeds; the extra step is definitely worth it. Garam masala is also used in the Tandoori chicken recipe.

1 leg of lamb, 8-9 pounds, butterflied, fat removed
1 medium-sized onions, coarsely chopped
fresh ginger, 3-inches long and 1-inch wide
5-7 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put the chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a blender and blend at high speed to get a smooth paste.

In a large nonmetallic bowl (or pot) put the paste from the blender and all the other ingredients except the meat.

Carefully cut off all fat and tissue from the meat, and with the point of a knife make losts of jabs in it on both side. Put the meat in the marinade paste and massage it making more cuts if needed to get the paste rubbed way into the meat. Cover the container and leave refrigerated for 24 hours. Turn the meat and massage it 3 or 4 times during this period.

Light the fire on your BBQ. When hot, place your grill at the lowest notich. Lift meat from bowl (leaving marinade) and place on grill. Sear 5 to 8 minutes on each side. Now raise the grill to its topmost notch and cook about 20 mintues on each side. Brush frequently with the reserved marinade. Cook until the meat is medium (still has a touch of pink) or the spices won't get a chance to cook through (most Indians like their meat on the well-done side). If you are using a gas grill, heat the grill to its maximum, sear the meat on both sides and then lower the heat and continue to cook--everyone's BBQ cooks differently so you have to learn how to achieve the proper result by trial and error. The meat should look slightly charred/nicely browned when it is completely finished.

To serve, slice thinly on the diagonal as you would a London broil.

Serves 10

Garam Masala

25 cardamom pods (use seeds only)
1/2 cup whole black peppercorns
1/3 cup whole cumin seeds
1/4 cup whole corriander seeds
3 sticks of cinnamon, each about 3 inches long
4-6 whole cloves

Combine all ingredients and grind very fine using an electric blender.

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