Spiced roast leg of lamb

Spiced roast leg of lamb

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

For Indians, roasting a leg of lamb is reserved for special occasions. The lamb is normally marinated overnight for the spices to have time to penetrate deep into the flesh, then roasted slowly for hours until the meat falls off the bone. This is an easier version of that special dish and, while it needs lots of spices, it cooks itself in the oven, so is a really easy entertaining option. You can serve this with an elegant pilaf, naan, vegetables or salads, or just a lovely raita, depending on how you like to eat. The longer you marinate this lamb, the better the result; overnight is best.


Quantity Ingredient
9 cloves
8 green cardamom pods
3 black cardamom pods
1/2-3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
7.5cm cinnamon stick
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 dried bay leaves
75g root ginger, coarsely chopped, (peeled weight)
35g garlic cloves
3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
150g plain yogurt
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1.8-2kg leg of lamb


  1. Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind all the whole spices and bay leaves to a fine powder.
  2. Blend together the ginger, garlic, vinegar, oil and as much of the yogurt as you need to make a smooth paste (I use a hand-held blender). Add the ground spices, chilli powder, salt and remaining yogurt.
  3. Weigh the lamb and make a note of its weight. Place the meat in a large shallow dish and make lots of slits all over the surface with a small sharp knife. Spread over the marinade, massaging well to make sure it goes into the slits and the lamb is well and evenly covered. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for as long as possible, ideally overnight, but for a minimum of two to three hours.
  4. When you’re ready to cook, return the lamb to room temperature and preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the lamb in a baking tray along with every last bit of marinade. Cover with a lid, or with some foil, and slide on to the middle shelf of the oven. Now cook for 22 minutes per 500 g of weight, adding 20 minutes extra at the end. After the meat has been roasting for one hour, uncover the dish and pour 100 ml of water into the tray. Baste every 20–30 minutes, keeping an eye on the moisture levels and adding a splash more water if the tray dries out.
  5. Once done, take the meat out of the oven, cover with foil and a tea towel and rest for 15–20 minutes before carving. Skim any excess fat from the pan juices, taste them for seasoning, then serve them with the lamb.
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