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Spiced Lamb Steaks

This dish bridges two continents: Africa and Europe. Lamb is the preferred meat for grilling in North Africa—served sizzling off the fire at outdoor stalls and casual restaurants. The seasoning here is a Tunisian spice mix called tabil. Steven Raichlen thinks you'll find the nutty flavor of the toasted caraway and the sting of the hot pepper flakes unique among rubs for meat. Serve with Chickpea "Fries", which are actually strips of chickpea flour dough cut to look like french fries.

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  • Servings: 6

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  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 lamb steaks cut from the leg ( 1/2 pound each)
  • Chickpea "Fries"


  1. In a small dry skillet, combine the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. In a spice mill, grind the toasted spices to a fine powder with the crushed red pepper and salt. Transfer the spices to a bowl and blend in the oil.
  2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan and oil it lightly. Rub the lamb with the spice paste and grill over a hot fire for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to plates and serve with the Chickpea "Fries.".

Suggested Pairing

The pointed, inky concentration of Syrah-based wines from France or Australia echo the spicy coriander, cumin and caraway rub.

Contributed By Photo © Reed Davis Published October 1998

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