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Let's Eat

Tandoori-spiced lamb

(Food Styling/Catherine Smart; Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff)
May 5, 2010

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Serves 8

We love the flavor of tandoori chicken at our favorite Indian restaurant and sometimes wish for something more exciting than poultry. Here, the main ingredient is a butterflied leg of lamb, treated in the same way: marinated in thick yogurt mixed with warm spices. If you’re short of time, buy a jar of tandoori paste and stir 3 tablespoons of paste into the yogurt. Serve with basmati rice and naan.

1 boneless leg of lamb (4 pounds), trimmed and butterflied
1/2 lemon
1 piece (1 inch) cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
2 teaspoons cardamom seeds (from about 20 pods)
15 whole black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1/2 hot green chili pepper, seeded
1/2 onion, chopped
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, chopped
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
Salt, to taste

1. With a small knife, cut 1-inch slits all over the lamb. Sprinkle it with lemon, coating the meat all over.

2. In a dry skillet over low heat, toast the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, and cloves for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Cool slightly. Grind in a spice or coffee grinder.

3. In a food processor, combine the spice mix with the chili, onion, ginger, and nutmeg. Blend into a paste. Add the yogurt and blend again.

4. Drain any excess lemon juice from the meat and salt it lightly. Coat the meat with the tandoori marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

5. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

6. Set the oven at 475 degrees. Put the meat into a large roasting pan.

7. Roast the meat for 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 130 degrees for medium rare meat. Cook the meat 5 minutes longer (140 degrees on a meat thermometer) for medium-done meat.

M.E. Malone