Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Grill RIB LAMB CHOPS TANDOORI STYLE - Steven Raichlen

Finally, I have original FOOD content to share... And it is a dooozy...

Lamb Chops are quickly becoming my favorite EXTREMELY EASY to cook but little used meat to grill. I'll be honest, until a couple of weeks ago, I had never cooked a lamb chop in my life. My post, How to Grill a RACK OF LAMB with Mustard Crust - Steven Raichlen Recipe , which you can reach by clicking HERE. was my first venture and it became my favorite presentation piece of meat I have ever made. It was beautiful, and very tasty.

But also in Steven Raichlen's HOW TO GRILL book, was a recipe for GRILLED TANDOORI LAMB CHOPS that I knew I wanted to try. TANDOORI is a cooking style from India, but also is a marinade. This recipe is for the marinade, and grilling chops for an Indian exotic taste and look.

Is there anything prettier than a rack of lamb. I will say that there is probably NOTHING EASIER than this recipe, and the pay off is SPECTACULAR!

This recipe can be found on page 182 of Steven Raichlen's amazing grill guide, HOW TO GRILL. The book includes three pages of detailed instructions, including lots of photographs and a simple easy to follow recipe. Click HERE to go to and read other people's reviews or to order. I just found out they have discounted the price, new copies are available for less than $10 and used copies for less than $5!

Like I said, the grilling method was very easy. very basic. If you can grill a steak, you can grill lamb chops. If you have never tried, I strongly recommend you give these a try.

The recipe is also easy to make, but a little exotic in the ingredient list. Whole milk yogurt, ginger, heavy cream, garlic, lemon juice, salt, coriander, cumin, turmeric, black and cayenne pepper, butter and very expensive saffron threads are among the ingredient list. I now realize how lucky I am to have a great spice guy at my local farmer's market. I get a full scoop of saffron threads for only $2. I checked a few places, and in my local underpriced grocery store, they charge $16 for less than 1/4 of the scoop. Ordering over the Internet is even more expensive. these threads are not cheap, I got lucky, but they are there in the recipe. I did a little research, and it is a very popular ingredient when it is needed. The taste is unique, and there is no less expensive alternative. But, it is a strong taste, and a little goes a long way.

Let me drop in my standard disclaimer about me and recipes...Long time readers of the blog, I am going to start coloring the lettering in the disclaimer, it will be the same for each review, feel free to skip to the standard black colored text...

OK, here's my generic talk about Steven Raichlen and his book...and me... As long time readers know, I am doing my own tribute (rip-off) off the Julie/Julia project, cooking my way through Steven's amazing grill guide, HOW TO GRILL. Unlike Julie, I won't be finishing this in a year, but I will be making an item at least once a week.

A word about reprinting recipes... I asked for some advice a few posts back. I understand that it is done, lots of people do it, and there would be no consequences. But, I decided not to reprint any of Steven's recipes from this book. I have several reasons, first and probably most important to readers, I just think that this is a book that should be in every one's library. Buy the book. It is very detailed, comes highly recommended by someone who cooks on the grill often (me), lots of photos, lots of instruction... Darn near idiot proof. But, most important to me, I want to respect the copyright. In another life, I owned a book store. I have met and socialized with authors, and I have a great deal of respect for the effort it takes to produce a work like this. It may take a couple years, but eventually, I intend to make every single recipe in the book. Starting to reproduce the recipes, intending to do them all would certainly offend me as a book seller, and probably Steven as the copyright holder. These posts are meant to be reviews only. Reviews of the cooking procedures, and the end results made by a moderately talented griller only. Meant as a guidepost, but if you want to achieve these yourself... Buy the book, Amazon has used copies available for under $5. Worth every penny.

OK, back to the recipe... This is a marinade and needs to be on the meat and sitting in the fridge for at least 4 to 12 hours. With Whole milk yogurt (I went just a bit further, and used Greek yogurt (similar, but a bit stronger), heavy cream as the base, it is a thick marinade, put on with a spoon instead of poured over the meat.

Just as thick as it looks...

Let it sit covered in the fridge for 4-12 hours (I made my marinade in the morning for a 6 PM grilling session). Then start grilling... Direct high heat grilling, 5 minutes per side and to an internal temp of 160 degrees for Medium doneness (Steven adds a note that Indians prefer their meat a little more done than the preferred medium rare).

Funny thing that I had never seen before was the blood seeping through the thick yogurt marinade after a few minutes grilling. I only put this shot in to bother the PETA people (like they would drop by my site anyway).

Like I said, 5 minutes per side, as it cooks, the thick marinade cooks off, some of it sticks and chars up nicely.

I love grill marks, but these are a little small to get really good looking ones.

Just enough of the thick marinade stays to really flavor this meat.

How's that for medium rare (I am not Indian).

Grilled Corn, Grilled Portobello mushrooms, a Salt Lick Potato (not pictured, but was INCREDIBLE) and some grilled eggplant (again, not pictured) rounded out the meal.

OK, since it is the same cut of meat, it begs comparisons with the rack of lamb I made a couple of weeks ago. The rack was MUCH easier, and looked spectacular. These chops took a very expensive marinade (the whole milk yogurt and the saffron threads combined will cost as much as the meat, and is not something most grillers have sitting around their fridges and pantries). It took longer to prep, and the finished product does not come close to the visual impact of a full rack of lamb being carved up at the table for presentation. So, ease, expense and presentation, the rack of lamb from two weeks ago wins hands down...

BUT, the taste of this meat wins by a mile and a half in a two mile race. Not that the rack was bad tasting, I gave it great reviews for taste. But the Tandoori chop was so much more full of different tastes. The flavor of the yogurt was there, and all the spices combined for a unique but very full flavor. This also gets a huge 5 of 5 on my 1 to 5 scale. Give this a try, you will not be sorry.


Drop me a comment and let me know what you think of these reviews... And if you regularly check in on me, go ahead and join my followers list, Plug me in your blogroll and let me know you are there. I want to see what you are all about too...

R, CAG and G... Good Talk


  1. I love tandoori lamb and chicken. Looks succulent and authentic! Well, as authentic as one can get without a tandoor oven. Maybe you should build one. ;-)

  2. Wow those look amazing! There's a restaurant I used to go to that did something like this - they called them lamb popsicles...we will not discuss how many of those I have eaten in my lifetime.

  3. Lamb rules. Those look fantastic, although I thought they were bigger until I noticed the corn. Heh.

  4. Yeah, I LURRRVE me some grilled lamb. Like you say, one of the great underrated meats, and well worth more interest. Not too MUCH interest, mind you, because I don't want everybody buying it and driving the price higher than it already is. :)

    If you dug this, I have a Lebanese-spiced lamb-chop dish you'd probably also enjoy. Oh, what the hell, here's the recipe.

    It's pretty straightforward: Start by making a spicy butter paste -- mince parsley, mint, and garlic, and mix with (in descending order of quantity) cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom, paprika, clove, and powdered ginger. Melt a bunch of butter, mix in the spices, and season to taste with salt and pepper. (You want the butter to be thick with spice. Don't be cautious, use lots.) Let it sit (off heat) for an hour until the butter firms up into a hard paste, then soften it with a good splash of lemon juice. Take the lamb chops out of the fridge and salt lightly. Smear a healthy amount of the butter paste onto the lamb chops, and let them come to room temperature, another hour or so. Grill over high heat, brushing with more of the butter, three or four minutes per side depending on the size of the chops. Note, will smoke a lot as the butter melts off. Let rest, and serve.

    Fabulous with a fresh melon-and-mint salad.

  5. Never had tandoori with lamb but have loved it with chicken. This is very well presented and just looks so delicious!

  6. What are those portabellas stuffed with?

  7. I like that marinade. $2 for saffron threads? You TOTALLY scored. I horde my small treasure of saffron that my Mother-in-law brought me from her recent trip to Spain.

  8. Oh yeah, LMAO bout the book tabs. I'm an addict of those.

  9. Beautiful! I dislike lamb, but I can see this working with other stuff. And that was a HUGE deal on saffron threads - excellent!