Tandoori is essentially the barbecue of India. Meat, chicken, and even fish is marinated in yogurt and spices and cooked in a cylindrical clay oven called a tandoor.
I was in San Diego recently visiting family and decided to grill this up for lunch. My mom usually roasts leg of lamb for Christmas dinner, but this was a Sunday afternoon gathering so grilling was in order. Saturday I marinated the lamb in yogurt, lemon juice and some aromatic warming spices so all I would have to do Sunday is make some rice pilaf with currants and chopped pistachios and an easy Greek-style salad.
Most of my immediate family loves lamb, but the extended cousins, nieces boyfriends, etc. were not necessarily fans. All I know is that there was not a scrap left and everyone was full and happy. 🙂
Tandoori-Spiced Leg of Lamb
serves 6 to 8
One 3-1/2 to 4 pound boneless leg of lamb
2 lemons, cut into sixths for serving
1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
4 cloves garlic, creamed or pressed
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon hot paprika
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Method: Direct heat grilling
Remove lamb from the netting and turn it over to where the cuts have been made to remove the bone. Sometimes it isn’t cut all the way through, so finish the cut so the meat open up “flat”. You just want to even it up a bit so that the entire piece is the same thickness – about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Do this by holding the knife parallel to work surface and begin slicing inward, pulling back the meat with your free hand and unrolling the thicker pieces like a carpet.
Place the lamb in a resealable plastic bag or a shallow baking dish; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients until until smooth and combined. Massage the marinade into the lamb making sure it is coated in the slashes and crevices as well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours to as long as overnight.
Remove the lamb from the marinade about an hour before grilling and scrap off most of the marinade. Season well with kosher salt and pepper. If you have skewers, crisscross them through the meat so that it holds together as one piece.
Set up your grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Brush and oil the grates before cooking. Total cooking time is going to be about 30 minutes Place the meat on the grill and sear for about 10 minutes, then flip and repeat. After that, close the cover and flip every 10 minutes or so until the internal temperature reaches 125°F for medium rare. If you like your lamb more done, simply leave on the grill a bit longer.
When the lamb is finished to your liking, transfer it to a cutting board and loosely tent with foil for 10 minutes. Once the meat has rested, slice or cut into chunks and serve with lemon wedges, rice pilaf and a side salad.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!