Crumbed lamb’s tongues with almond tarator

Crumbed lamb’s tongues with almond tarator

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

This is my interpretation of a brilliant dish I tasted at the fashionable Changa restaurant in Istanbul. The menu there is overseen by Kiwi fusion-maestro Peter Gordon, who travels to Turkey every few months to change dishes on the menu and to seek inspiration from the local produce markets. Peter’s menu is modern and eclectic and it incorporates wonderful Turkish touches. I was especially delighted by a dish of crumbed lamb’s tongues that he served with a hot garlicky aïoli.

I like to serve my version as a starter, and to accompany the crispy crumbed lamb’s tongues with almond tarator and perhaps pickled cucumbers with fennel. Another option would be to partner them with whipped fetta dip.

I like to use lamb’s tongues for this recipe, but you could also use veal or ox tongue – the cooking time here won’t alter. Ask your butcher to pickle whichever tongues you choose; it improves the flavour and helps maintain the rosy-pink colour when you cook them.


Quantity Ingredient
800g pickled lamb’s tongues, (about 8)
2 sticks celery, cut into chunks
2 small carrots, cut into chunks
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 small leek, cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
few sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup grated parmesan
150g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 free-range eggs
plain flour
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for frying
lemon wedges, to serve
1 quantity Almond tarator, to serve


  1. Rinse the tongues well, then put them into a large, heavy-based saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then tip into a colander to drain.
  2. Return the tongues to the rinsed-out saucepan and add the vegetables, garlic, herbs and peppercorns. Pour on enough cold water to cover, then bring to the boil and lower the heat immediately. Simmer gently, covered, for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until the tongues are tender. Check the pan from time to time and top up with more water if needed – the tongues should always be covered with water. When cooked, allow the tongues to cool in the cooking liquid until easy to handle. While still warm, carefully peel away the skin and any excess fat. Refrigerate the peeled tongues in the cooking liquid overnight, or for a minimum of 8 hours.
  3. Remove the chilled tongues from the cooking liquid and pat dry. Use a sharp knife to trim the back (root) of the tongue and to slice away any gristly muscle tissue and excess fat from the underside. If using lamb’s tongues, cut in half lengthwise. If using veal or ox tongue, cut into slices crosswise.
  4. When ready to cook the tongues, mix the parmesan, breadcrumbs and sesame seeds in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat the eggs with a little water in another shallow bowl. Set up a production line of the flour, egg wash and crumb mix. Season the tongues lightly with salt and pepper, then dip each one into the flour, then the egg and finally the crumbs.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the tongues for 1–2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve them hot from the pan with lemon wedges and the tarator, and accompany with pickles or a salad.
Middle Eastern
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