Tandoori lamb chops

Tandoori lamb chops is a very popular starter, which we find in most of the Indian restaurants and takeaways. It is not only popular in India, but almost everywhere in UK, USA and other countries. To cook tandoori lamb chops, you need a traditional tandoor, which can be found in almost all Indian restaurants. Normally, we will not have tandoor at home, but we can get that restaurant style (red and charred colour) on lamb chops by just cooking in the oven, following the instructions in this recipe.

Marination plays a vital role in enhancing the flavours of tandoori lamb chops. Tandoori lamb chops has to be marinated with spices, yoghurt, and lime juice for about 8 hrs to overnight. I have marinated for a couple of nights to get the best, succulent and juicy tandoori chops.

Tandoori lamb chops can be served as a starter with salad and mint sauce. It can also be served as a side dish with any pulao or fried rice along with raitha (mixture of onion, tomato, green chillies and yoghurt).

Preparation time: 30 mins (excluding time for marination)

Cooking time: 40 mins

Cuisine: North Indian

Spiciness: Medium

Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • Lamb chops - 10
  • Chilli flakes - as required
  • First marinade

  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 3/4 tsp
  • Second marinade

  • Yoghurt (thick curd) – 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Crushed chilli powder (optional) – 1 tsp
  • Mace and nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Kasuri methi - 2 tsp
  • Saffron colour (optional) – a pinch
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Green chillies (chopped, mild) – 2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – 4 tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Additional optional ingredients (for garnishing)

  • Orange, green, yellow peppers (sliced) – 3/4 cup
  • Onion (sliced) – 1
  • Green chillies (sliced) – 3
  • Chaat masala
  • Lemon wedges or lemon juice
  • Butter

Method

  • Slice the vegetables for garnishing: bell pepper - any colour, onion and green chillies. Keep them ready. This is optional and it is entirely your choice.
  • Dry roast cumin seeds on a non stick pan or tava on low flame for a few minutes until its colour changes and aroma comes. Allow to cool and grind to a powder.
  • There are two steps for cooking the tandoori lamb chops:

    1. Marination

    2. Baking

  • First marination

  • Mix all the ingredients on the first marinade section in a bowl. Apply all over the lamb chops. Rub nicely so that the marinade goes well under the meat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Second marination

  • Take a wide bowl, add the curd/yoghurt and then add the ingredients listed for the second marinade. Mix well and keep it ready. Check the seasoning.
  • Add the lamb chops and mix well with the second marinade.
  • Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Overnight is preferred.
  • Take out from the fridge about 30 to 40 minutes (to bring it to room temperature) before you start cooking. (Don’t rub or mix the marinated chops aga). You can see that the marinated chops has left some liquid.
  • Baking

  • Preheat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 200 degrees celcius and keep it ready. My oven is a gas oven, so adjust the timings according to your oven.
  • Place the rack, (broiler or oven rack) after brushing with oil, on top of the roasting pan. Place the marinated chops on the the rack or put it on skewers. Drizzle a few drops of oil over the chops.
  • Keep the baking tray in the middle part of oven and cook for about 8 to 10 mins on each side. Check in between so that it does not get burnt and dry. Turn the skewers, brush with oil and cook for about 8 minutes or until the lamb chops are just cooked.
  • Remove the lamb chops from the oven. Keep aside and change from oven to grill to give the restaurant-like charred colour.
  • Baste the lamb chops with melted butter and keep the baking tray (with the rack on which the skewers are placed) under the grill to get the charred colour on the lamb chops. Keep an eye on the lamb chops, as it should not be over charred or burnt. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes each side.
  • After turning to the other side, baste the lamb chops with butter again and cook until the chops get the restaurant-like charred colour.
  • Remove the lamb chops skewers and keep them aside.
  • Take an aluminium foil, brush little butter on the foil, place the hot lamb chops and brush little butter on top of the chops and wrap or close the foil for about 10 mins to make the chops juicy and delicious.
  • Serve as a starter or as a side dish with any pulao and raitha.
  • Optional garnishing

  • Meanwhile, for garnishing, add all the vegetables in the same baking tray where all the juices (fat) of lamb chops have dripped. Sprinkle a pinch each of garam masala, salt and chaat masala on the vegetables. Grill for a few minutes in the oven at a high temperature or until it is lightly charred.
  • Sprinkle some lemon juice on the vegetables as per taste; mix all the vegetables, place it on a serving plate first then place the lamb chops from the foil.
  • Serve as a starter or with any pulao and raitha it goes well.

Notes

  • Sometimes I prepare the lamb chops in advance and wrap it in foil. When serving just heat it in the oven with foil wrap (it will not make the chicken dry) or without (apply butter again to keep the chicken moist) until it is hot and serve hot.
  • Instead of colour, you can use saffron (kesar) or you can buy beetroot vegetable powder for colour and use it.
  • For mace and nutmeg powder (jaiphal and javithri), I added 10 mace flowers, one small nutmeg and 10 to 15 green cardamoms, in a mixer and then ground it to a powder. Store in an air tight container.
  • Instead of mace and nutmeg, you can add green cardamom powder a pinch.
  • Add chilli powder and green chilli as per the heat of your chillies.
  • Rub kasuri methi in between your palms and add to the marinate.
  • Use thick curd or hung curd for the marinate.

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