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Tandoori lamb cutlets

Historically, tandoori referred to food cooked in a tandoor, a wood-fired clay oven. Often these dishes were marinated in a yoghurt and spice mix - yoghurt masala which has led to this style of marinating being called tandoori. I ate New Zealand lamb cutlets cooked in this style at Masala Bay restaurant in Mumbai.


  • 11?2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 11?2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • seeds from 6 green cardamom pods
  • 3cm piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1?2-1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 cup (250g) natural yoghurt
  • 16 small lamb cutlets (around 750g)


If you like, you can serve these with a coriander chutney, replacing half the coriander with fresh mint.

Great for finger food, they can also be served as a main course with rice and vegetables, with 3-4 cutlets per person. I use a teaspoon of Kashmiri chilli powder, which is bright red and mild. If you have a hot chilli powder use the lesser amount.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and dry-fry the seeds, cinnamon and cloves for 1 minute until fragrant. Cool. Grind to a powder in a spice blender or mortar and pestle. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli powder and grind to a paste. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the yoghurt.

Place the cutlets in a non-metal dish and pour the yoghurt masala over. Stir to coat the lamb well.

Cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat the grill or barbecue to very hot then cook the cutlets for 2 minutes each side until browned.

Makes 16.

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