What has happened to the the summer? The grass is growing fast and furiously, turning our table-sized lawn into a daunting savannah, the tomato plants are drowning and snails are sliding cheetah-like across slick stone, thumbing their noses at me as they head towards the
vegetables snail canteen. I haven’t even bothered to assemble the BBQ. What a wash out.
It’s time to make a stand. If a griddle and a warm lamp is the closest I’m going to get to cooking outside, so be it. I have a vivid imagination when the occasion demands. Add some lamb and Indian spices and I can almost feel the Rajasthani heat beating down. Almost.
This is a gloriously quick dish to prepare. And while the marinating will make it taste better, it’s optional. The meat and spice still make a great combo.
If you can, try to get a cut of lamb with a little more fat running through it. Leg is lovely and lean but shoulder or loin/neck with their veins of white fat running through the meat makes for a beautifully moist and tasty mouthful. Neck in particular gives you exactly the right combination of fatty and tender, making it the best meat for kebabs or grills.
When it comes to spicing start with coriander and cumin seeds and build from there. These are both aromatic and warm spices with a preternatural affinity for lamb (and mutton). Fenugreek adds an almost undefinable but definitive flavour that is clearly South Asian. It’s one of those magical ingredients that places a dish geographically (like fish sauce for SE Asian food and miso for Japanese).
Sizzling on the griddle
Feeds three or four with some sides
2 neck fillets of lamb chopped into six large pieces each
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic – squashed and chopped into a couple pieces each
Juice of one lemon
Put the seeds into a large pestle and mortar (or do them in two batches) and grind to a rough powder. Put the lamb in a bowl and glut in some oil. Add the spices, garlic and lemon juice and massage it all in with your hands. Cover with cling film and leave for one or two hours.
Remove the lamb form the marinade, and grill in a smoking hot griddle for about 3 minutes a side, until black stripes are seared into the lamb. Serve, eat and enjoy.