Madhur Jaffrey’s Spiced Yogurt Leg of Lamb

A couple of weeks ago in Bristol I was sniffing around St Nicks Market bookstore and picked up a copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery , this was a book that sat beside Delia in my house growing up indeed her first television series was broadcast in 1982 and her books remain classics with easy to follow but I am assured authentic recipes.

Just like me Madhur Jaffrey learnt to cook from her mother,  though not from watching her in the kitchen as I did , but through a maternal correspondence course neccessitated by Madhur’s arrival in London  homesick and unable to cook.

My parents were adventurous eaters but we didn’t really have takeaways til I was in my teens so I know my first experiences of curry would have been home cooked, nowadays it’s easy to find all the ingredients in the supermarket back then it was trip to places called Sunflower Wholefoods for scoops of lentils and spices.

Perhaps it is a sign of the variety in modern home cookery but the ingredients for this dish are all staples in my  cupboard, my only alteration was not to include ground almonds, Nick is not keen on nutty tastes with meat.

This dish was fantastic , I think it would BBQ well too , and has been lovely cold in wraps with a little cucumber and yogurt. I cannot wait to try some more recipes from the book that should become a well thumbed favourite

Madhur Jaffrey’s Spiced Yogurt Leg of Lamb

1 leg of lamb 1.5kg
4 large onions
8 cloves of garlic
4 thumbs of ginger
4 fresh green chillis
500ml of plain yogurt
2 tbsp of cumin seeds
4 tsp of coriander seeds
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of tumeric
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of garam masal
5 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/2 tsp of cloves
16 cardamon pods
2 inch stick of cinammon
10 black peppercorns

  1. Trim any skin off the lamb leg.
  2. Place the leg in a baking dish in a large dish.
  3. Blend half the onions, garlic,  ginger,  chillis and 3 tbsp of yogurt and blend together
  4. Mix with the remainder of the yorgurt, add the blended paste ,tumeric, cumin,  coriander cumin and salt
  5. Slash the lamb and rub over the paste
  6. Refridgerate for 24 hours
  7. Remove from the fridge and let the meat come to room temperature.
  8. Place an onion thickly sliced under the lamb
  9. Preheat the oven to 200degC
  10. Heat the oil and fry the cloves cardomon cinamons and peppercorns for a few seconds
  11. Pour the hot spiced oil over the lamb
  12. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1.5 hours
  13. Then remove the foil and bake for a further 45 minutes
  14. All the meat to rest in the dish for 15 minutes this will mean you can spoon of ant fat that rises
  15. Serve sliced with plenty of the sauce

Makes for heavenly leftovers warmed through with a little plain yogurt

Lavender and Rosemary Lamb Neck Fillet with Bean SaladCharcoal Grilled  Spiced Leg of Lamb


  1. Good morning,

    I’m an intern with Superior Farms and I noticed your great article on your preparation of lamb! We are kicking off the summer with our summer grilling promotion at We’re giving away a Mediterranean cruise for two and promoting simple Mediterranean seasonings for lamb. We are hoping to get more lamb lovers this summer by highlighting delicious recipes and cooking tips. If you have any posts coming up, we would love to hear about them! Also, look for us on Facebook.

    Thank you for your time!


    Lacie Hoffman

  2. I have a similar history with Madhur Jaffrey. That same book was a staple in our kitchen when I was growing up.

    I’ve bought other Madhur Jaffrey books over the years, but I didn’t own my own copy of the edition we had at home when we were kids until I spotted it in a charity shop window early one Saturday morning. The shop was closed, but I stood and waited outside until it eventually opened.

    To me, Madhur Jaffrey (dare I say it?) is far better and more inspirational than Delia….

  3. Lovingly prepared this recipe many years ago, perhaps as far back as 19 years, It took quite a while as I ground the spices from whole and then really looked forward to the finished dish. I set the oven on timer and as a family we went out for the day. Sadly, I must have made a mistake with the oven setting/timer and when we arrived home the lamb was absolutely frazzled. I never knew discovered whether this was going to be a great dish but suspect that it is. I’m about to prepare it on Friday at the second attempt. Hope it lives up to expectations. Wish me luck!

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  5. This is a very special dish used by anglo indians at weddings etc.

    I had the pleasure of eating it at a wedding in mumbai this year.

    Its nice if you pin tomato slices..boiled egg slices..mushrooms or any combination you like and cook for the last 10 miins.

  6. Bought this great cookbook as a student 30 years ago, & still using it – this recipe is one of the best. Very useful to find it on line as I forgot to bring it with me on holiday!

  7. Its strange no one seems to have noticed all the errors in this recipe, seems to me it’s not really about the food at all – just the blah blah….

  8. I had heard of this recipe from my parents but it wasn’t in the one Madhur Jaffrey book I had so this was the first page that I found on the web. I had a large leg of lamb in the freezer that I defrosted so I upped the quantities by 50% and the meat is currently marinating in the fridge to be cooked tomorrow evening. I think I’ve made too much sauce but this can’t be a bad thing in my books!

    Peter is right though, there are loads of errors in this recipe which, although not hard to follow, does raise questions for someone cooking this dish for the first time. Some I have found are:

    1. “Place the leg in a baking dish in a large dish.” – A dish in a dish?
    2. “Blend half the onions” – this would be 2 onions and then another is used later in the recipe. What happens to the last onion?
    3. No mention is made in the method of the cayenne pepper or the garam masala. I assume it goes into the paste with the turmeric, cumin etc.
    4. The rest are just spelling and grammatical errors but it still makes it a bit difficult to read.

    I’ll post how this goes after I’ve eaten tomorrow!

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