Monday, November 30, 2009

Cookbook challenge, week 2: Tandoori lamb cutlets with cucumber salad

The theme for week 2 is Indian - one of my favourite cuisines! A couple of years ago I attended an Adult Education cooking course on Indian cookery, and it was fantastic. It was taught by a lady who used to run one of my favourite Indian takeaway shops in town.

From that course I learned a great range of recipes and techniques for Indian cooking. There are several dishes that I still cook regularly, and will no doubt post sometime! I really like authentic Indian dishes, both when cooking at home and eating out. The more ingredients, the better! Using a wonderfully large range of individual spices provides a far superior outcome to any packet or jar mix, and it's much easier and faster than I think a lot of people might expect. There are some good mixes and jars around for those times when you don't have the motivation, though; I'm partial to the Patak's range.

For this challenge, I chose a recipe from the AWW's Great Barbecue Foods. Unpacking at the new house is still in progress, and at this stage I still hadn't uncovered all my recipe books! The alternatives were some 80s Microwave cookery books, and another really retro one - they were printed long before proper Indian food became popular in Australia, and hence don't contain anything vaguely authentic. I think the closest thing I found was a curry using the old favourite Keen's curry powder :) I hope to use some of the older cookbooks in future challenges... this could be interesting!

The recipe I chose was 'Tandoori lamb cutlets with cucumber salad'. It's a very basic recipe, but was still pretty tasty and got two thumbs up from my partner, J. I halved the original recipe, to serve 2. I also left out the onion specified in the original recipe as we didn't have any.

6 lamb cutlets

100g yoghurt
1 garlic clove
1 tbs fresh ginger
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin

Blend the marinade ingredients, then combine with the lamb cutlets and stir well to coat.
Refrigerate for 3 hours.
Cook on a heated, oiled barbecue until browned both sides (I used the grill in our oven as it was raining!)
Serve with cucumber salad and coriander yogurt.

Cucumber salad:
1 cucumber
1 fresh red chilli, finely diced
30mL peanut oil
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 tbs fresh mint, finely shredded

Peel cucumber with a vegetable peeler.
Place in a clean teatowel and squeeze out excess moisture
Toss gently with remaining ingredients

Coriander yogurt:
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
100g yoghurt

Blend until combined.

The finished product! As you can see, I really need to work on my serving/presentation skills. It's not something I've really thought about very much before, but now that I am taking pictures for all to see, I should start thinking about it soon!

The meat was fantastic. The marinade had a very tasty flavour. If anything, I'd add more chilli to give the cutlets some more zing. I'll probably make this again, but with a more economical cut of lamb (the cutlets were $2.50 each).

The cucumber salad was great. Very fresh and vibrant tasting, it'll be a good one for summer. I'd like to try it with sesame oil instead of peanut - I think sesame has a much nicer flavour (and it will probably require less oil too).

I served the dish with some roasted potatoes and pumpkin tossed in olive oil, garam masala and paprika.

The theme for week 3 is hor d'oeuvres. I'm going to a picnic on Saturday, so my friends might be the guinea pigs for the next recipe!


  1. If retro was one of our themes then your old cookbooks would come in handy. Hopefully you still get to use them in future weeks! :)

    The lamb sounds great too.

  2. Thanks Agnes! I'm sure I'll be able to work the retro cookbooks in sometime :)

  3. Good luck with the unpacking! Hope it is all going well! The tandoori lamb looks delicious, especially with the addition of the coriander yogurt!