Tandoori lamb chops are made from succulent lamb marinated in a spicy yoghurt and lemon marinade and fried to perfection. Serve with a dish of fragrant saag aloo and a slice of homemade buttery garlic naan bread for a curry night with a difference!
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What is Tandoori?
The Tandoori style of cooking is a method that involves cooking food in a clay oven, or tandoor, at a very high temperature. Most people don't have access to such a clay oven and tend to use either a grill or a very hot frying pan. For this recipe for tandoori lamb chops, I've chosen to use my cast iron griddle pan.
In Tandoori cooking, the meat is marinated in a yoghurt and citrus-based marinade, with spices such as paprika, cumin, coriander and garam masala. The heat for a tandoori marinade comes from cayenne pepper or chillies.
The combination of marinating the meat, and cooking it over a very high heat, results in tender juicy meat, that is absolutely packed with flavour.
I want to make this, what do I need?
To make tandoori lamb chops you only need a few ingredients.
Of course, you will need lamb chops. Try to get rib or loin chops as they are perfect for the quick hot tandoori cooking style. Shoulder chops are not recommended as they are not so tender, and will benefit from a longer, slower cook.
I have allowed 1 and a half pounds (680g) of lamb chops for 4 people, which is 6oz (170g) per person. This may sound like a lot of meat, but the lamb chops are on the bone, and most of the visible fat will be trimmed away which will reduce the weight. Depending on the size of the lamb chops, I tend to allow 2 to 3 per person.
You will also need a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil, or any other neutral-flavoured oil, for frying.
For the marinade
- Greek yoghurt - this is naturally thick and unflavoured. You can use Natural thick yoghurt, but make sure it is unflavoured.
- Lemon juice - provides the citrus element.
- Garlic and ginger - you can use freshly minced cloves of garlic and finely chopped freshly peeled ginger, but I prefer my favourite brand of crushed ginger and garlic from a jar, which is a lot more convenient and makes it easy to measure out the exact quantities you need.
- For the spices, you will need garam marsala, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground paprika (not pictured) and dried chillies or cayenne pepper for the heat.
- Salt is optional and to your own taste, but I like to add half a teaspoon to the marinade.
How to make Tandoori lamb chops
There are two easy steps to making these tandoori lamb chops:
- Prepare the marinade and marinate the chops
- Fry the chops
- Place all the ingredients for the marinade into a shallow bowl, mix well and then submerge the chops in the marinade Take care to cover the chops completely.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least half an hour to marinade. The longer you marinade the better - you can leave these for up to 2 days in the refrigerator before cooking.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a cast-iron skillet, then take the chops out of the marinade.
- Brush most of the marinade off the chops then place them in the hot skillet.
- Fry the chops for 3 to 5 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the chops) until they are nicely browned.
- The cooking time is a matter of preference. Some people like their chops to be cooked 'well done', I prefer mine to be still slightly pink on the inside.
- Place the cooked chops on a plate, cover with a sheet of aluminium foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
If preferred, you can heat any leftover marinade in a small saucepan until boiling, and serve either as a dipping sauce or spooned over the lamb.
Serve with a dish of saag aloo and homemade naan bread.
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Can I freeze tandoori lamb chops?
Yes, you can freeze the uncooked chops in the marinade. Transfer the chops and the marinade to a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To use, defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then remove the chops from the marinade and fry as per the recipe instructions.
Make in advance
Marinating the chops for a day or two really improves the flavour. You can store the marinated chops, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To use, remove the chops from the marinade and fry as per the recipe instructions.
Can I cook these chops on the BBQ?
Yes, these chops are perfect for grilling outdoors on a barbeque. When you place the chops on the barbeque grill, place them around the edges of the grill, away from the direct heat in the middle. This will prevent the marinade from burning. Turn the chops frequently until done.
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If you enjoyed this recipe for Tandoori lamb chops, you may also enjoy some of my other curry meals and sides.
- Kashmiri chicken and prawn curry with lychees
- Spicy ground beef curry and rice
- Beef samosas with peas and potatoes
- Potato and onion bhajis
- Chicken bhuna with Bombay potatoes and naan bread
- Easy lamb curry
- Easy butter chicken
Tandoori lamb chops
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- Shallow dish for marinating
- Cast iron grill pan or frying pan
- 1½ lb / 680 grams lamb rib chops
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 cup unflavoured Greek yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons garam marsala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes OR cayenne pepper adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- ½ teaspoon crushed ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt adjust to your own taste
- Remove most of the visible fat from the chops.1½ lb / 680 grams lamb rib chops
- Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow dish.1 cup unflavoured Greek yoghurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon paprika, 2 teaspoons garam marsala, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes OR cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon crushed ginger
- Submerge the chops in the marinade Take care to cover the chops completely.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least half-an-hour to marinade. Note 1
- Heat the sunflower oil in a cast iron skillet (or frying pan). Let the fat get nice and hot so that it sizzles when you add the chops2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Remove the chops from the marinade, and scrape off most of the marinade.
- Fry the chops in the hot skillet for 3 - 5 minutes per side. You may want to adjust the heat down once the chops have been placed in the hot pan so that they do not burn. Note 2
- If you want to crisp any fat remaining on the edge of the chops, use a pair of tongs to hold the chops in the hot oil, fat side down.
- Transfer the cooked chops on a plate, cover with a sheet of aluminium foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve with a dish of saag aloo and homemade naan bread, and a simple tomato and onion sambal.
- You can leave the chops in the marinade in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- The actual cooking time depends on the thickness of the chops and also how well done you like them. If you like your chops well done then leave them for longer. If you like them to be nicely pink on the inside then cook them for a shorter time. The chops are going to be left to rest for 5 minutes and they will continue to cook during that time.
- If preferred, you can heat any remaining marinade in a small saucepan until boiling, and then serve either as a dipping sauce, or spooned over the lamb chops.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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