Monday, November 23, 2009
Tandoori spiced food is one of India's greatest gifts to the universe. Hinduism, algebra, Buddhism, and other things may be placed aside for later consideration. Today, we concern ourselves with meat.
This lamb chop recipe is pilfered from Food and Wine magazine, which in turn pilfered it from Karim's in Delhi's Jama Masjid area - perhaps the most chaotic and delightful region of that already fantastic city. I never got to eat there - that will come, later - but do have this recipe. I make it all the time. It's one of my never fail standbys, and is just as good with chicken and fish as it is for lamb. But it really comes into its own with the meaty funkiness of good lamb, and I advise that (in the best of all possible worlds) that you use it for this recipe. I made these most recently for my grandmother as a vague attempt at celebrating Divali. I think they turned out all right.
LUSCIOUS TANDOORI LAMB CHOPS
Factor in overnight marination time: you won't regret it. Still tastes fine if marinaded for half a day, but not really the real-thing, if you know what I mean.
8 lamb rib chops (2 1/2 pounds) OR a rack of lamb OR a half chicken OR hard-fleshed white fish chunks - how flexible this is!
3/4 cup Greek yogurt.
1/4 cup heavy cream.
3 tablespoons lemon juice.
One 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced.
4 minced garlic cloves.
1 tablespoon malt vinegar.
1 tablespoon garam masala.
1 tablespoon cumin.
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mace (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Cinnamon in small quantity, if you'd like
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Using a knife (no fooling!) cut slashes into the meat. Get a large bowl and whisk the yogurt with the cream, the lemon juice, ginger, garlic, garam masala, cumin, paprika, cayenne, mace, nutmeg, and one teaspoon of salt. Toss in the meat and work with your hands to get it into every possible nook and cranny. Let it sit overnight, or at least as long as possible.
Ready to cook? Divine. Add the oil to the marinade and toss with the lamb chops. Remove them from the marinade and let them stand for a bit. Don't scrape off the yogurt. That's the good stuff.
Grill those suckers. They're also good under the broiler. I find them only truly acceptable when cooked very rare, but I suppose you can incinerate them into submission if you must.
Serve them with Indian side dishes if feeling exotic - I like aloo gobi - or with more mundane stuff if you are not. A bed of simple sauteed spinach is always very complimentary to lamb chops. They are, not shockingly, very nice with wine or Indian beer.
I suspect this marinade might be a rather nice dip for vegetables if given a bit of tweaking. Do let me know if you try.