There is something special about Indian flavours, which seem to deliver that feel good factor like no other cuisine can. If I have been away on holiday in Europe the 'must have meal' on my return is Indian. This dish of spicy lamb chops is easy to prepare and can be cooked in the oven, on a grill, barbecue or even in a tandoor oven (if, like me, you are lucky enough to have one in the garden)!
To serve four people you will need the following ingredients: 8 lamb chops (on the bone), 1 teaspoon (tsp) of fennel seed (whole roasted are best), 1 tsp of whole black pepper corns, 10 whole cloves, 1 tsp of mustard seeds, 1 tsp of kalonji (black onion), half a tsp of red chilli powder, half a tsp of salt (to taste), 100g of greek plain yoghurt, 2 tsp of garlic (crushed), 2 tsp of ginger root (grated), 1 tsp of garam masala, 4 tsp of vegetable oil, 2 tsp of gram (chickpea) flour (optional), and four wedges of lemon.
To make the dish, first flatten the lamb chops with a steak hammer. Then rub the chops with the ginger, garlic and salt. Heat the gram flour in a pan to lightly brown and then sprinkle over the lamb chops. Add the remaining ingredients to the yoghurt and mix well. Marinade the lamb chops for at least four hours, overnight if possible.
The chops can be either grilled under a medium grill for 8-10 minutes each side or roasted in an oven at 230°C (gas mark 8) for 18-20 minutes. Alternatively you can barbecue them over a medium heat, or put the chops on to large skewers and cook in the tandoor, if you have one. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.
There are various accompaniments for these spicy lamb chops, depending upon what the outside temperature is and how you are feeling. In winter I would opt for a dish of spicy Bombay potatoes or saffron rice; in summer it may be a simple green salad with coriander leaves and a dish of raita.
There is no doubt that when the weather permits it is best to cook and consume food outside. It always tastes better and this dish is great for barbecues.
Celia Wright studied food science at Nottingham University and started her career with Unigate working at Bowyers, Trowbridge. She moved on to Weetabix, as a development technologist and spent 11 years with Northern Foods working in new product development (NPD), operations and technical roles.
In 1996 she joined S&A Foods as head of R&D launching over 300 products each year and worked with many top chefs including Ken Hom. In 2001, she set up Cheftech (www.cheftech.co.uk) offering consultancy for the complete NPD process.
Celia is a member of the Development Chefs' Network (DCN) and will be speaking at its Indian Food Seminar at Staverton Park, Northampton, on June 15. For details visit http://www.developmentchefs.com