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Twelve-hour Indian-spiced lamb shoulder with saffron pilaf

As the name indicates, this dish requires planning ahead. That said, the long cooking time is offset by simple preparation, with melt-in-the-mouth textures and deep flavours the pay-offs. Start this recipe two days ahead to marinate and roast the lamb.

You'll need

150 gm Greek-style yoghurt 2 tbsp finely grated ginger 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tbsp garam masala 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground chilli Juice of 1 lime 1 lamb shoulder, bone in (about 1.7kg) 80 gm ghee 4 onions, thinly sliced Fresh coriander sprigs, mint leaves, thinly sliced long green chilli and lime wedges, to serve   Saffron pilaf 50 ml vegetable oil or ghee 1 onion, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 300 gm (1½ cups) brown basmati rice 500 ml (2 cups) hot chicken stock ½ tsp saffron, soaked in 50ml warm water for 10 minutes   Mint yoghurt 250 gm thick plain yoghurt 1 cup (firmly packed) mint 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped Juice of 1 lime


  • 01
  • Combine yoghurt, ginger, garlic, spices and lime juice in a bowl and season to taste. Slash lamb at intervals, rub all over with yoghurt mixture and into the incisions, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 02
  • Unwrap lamb, place in a roasting pan and bring to room temperature (1-1½ hours). Preheat oven to 120C. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add onion and fry, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden brown (8-10 minutes). Season to taste, cool briefly, then scatter onion over lamb. Add 500ml water to roasting pan, cover with foil and roast until meat is fall-apart tender (11-12 hours). Pour pan juices into a jug, skim off excess fat and season to taste.
  • 03
  • For saffron pilaf, heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic and sauté until tender and translucent (5-6 minutes). Stir in rice to coat, then add stock, saffron and its soaking liquid and 250ml hot water. Season to taste, bring to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, then reduce heat to low and cook without uncovering for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stand without uncovering for 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff up with a fork.
  • 04
  • For mint yoghurt, process ingredients in a food processor and season to taste.
  • 05
  • Pile pilaf onto a platter, top with lamb, scatter with coriander, mint and green chilli, and serve with pan juices, mint yoghurt and lime wedges.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Spicy grenache

Featured in

Aug 2016

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