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Indian-Spiced Butterflied Leg of Lamb

While editing Jeremiah Tower Cooks, published in 2002 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Gail Monaghan ended up eating or cooking most of the recipes. One of her favorites is this easy Indian-inspired lamb. The spice-rubbed lamb needs to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours, so plan accordingly.

slideshow More Amazing Lamb Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

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  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 small dried red chiles
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • One 5-pound butterflied leg of lamb
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt


  1. In a medium skillet, combine the coriander, cumin and mustard seeds with the chiles and peppercorns. Toast the spices over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a spice grinder to cool completely, then grind to a powder. Transfer the spices to a bowl and stir in the turmeric, fenugreek, cardamom and ginger.
  2. Spread the lamb on a large baking sheet and rub it all over with the spices. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. Scrape most of the spices off the lamb. Rub the meat with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt.
  4. In a large roasting pan set over 2 burners, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the lamb, fat side down, and cook over moderate heat until deeply browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the lamb over and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the lamb to the oven and roast for 25 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 120° for medium rare.
  5. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let stand for 10 minutes. Carve the meat into thick slices and serve.

Make Ahead

The spice-rubbed lamb can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Suggested Pairing

A strong-flavored wine with good acidity and fruit will complement the Indian flavors in the lamb's spice rub. Look for a spicy, juicy Shiraz or Syrah that isn't too heavy from Australia or Washington State.

Contributed By Photo © Miki Duisterhof Published August 2003

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