Gor-Amli (Jaggery and Tamarind) is one of my favourite Parsi flavour combinations. The earthy sweetness of the jaggery and the ear popping tang of tamarind create a sweet and sour flavour that no honey-soy can ever re-create. Sadly, most Parsi dishes call for these ingredients to be added to a curry or a dal. They are hardly ever used in their full glory as a marinade where they could be the star flavours on a dish.
A month before I was due to go to New Zealand with Baby M, Sam Pappa who works in shipping told me that he had managed to secure a leg of lamb for me. I’ve eaten a lamb roast many times in a restaurant. But, I never had the opportunity to cook a roast at home so I was thrilled. Also, after eating chicken practically every day in India I had decided before I even reached NZ that chicken would feature on as few of my meals there as possible.
The only issue now was that I had never really cooked a leg of lamb before. How difficult could it be right? Turns out, it’s quite a science. It depends on whether your leg is boneless or is bone in – I recommend the latter as it adds a wealth of flavour that no marinade can replicate – and it also depends on the weight of the leg. After much research on the ‘done-ness’ a perfect lamb roast should have and the oven settings, I decided on 45 minutes/kilo of lamb at 200 degrees celsius – you are welcome to change this if you’ve had more experience cooking lamb than I have of course.
Do remember that what makes a good lamb roast is its accompaniments. I chose to pair mine with carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes as I love my carbs. I didn’t have any onion and garlic in my home but ideally you should add that in too. So, the next time you are planning a Thanksgiving or Christmas Roast and want to add a little Parsi flavour to your meal, do try out this recipe and let me know how you go.
Gor Amli Lamb
- 100 gram dark brown jaggery
- 50 gram tamarind
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sambhar masala
- 2 tsp crushed black pepper
- 10 sprigs of mint
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 750 gram leg of lamb bone-in
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 medium potato
- 3 medium carrots quartered
- 1 small onion quartered
- 6 cloves of garlic crushed with peel
- Roughly chop the jaggery and the tamarind. Add about 150 - 200 ml of hot boiling water to the mixture to make the jaggery melt and create a thick gravy type paste
- Finely chop the mint leaves and add to the jaggery mixture
- Wash the leg of lamb and score it. Rub in the salt, pepper and sambhar masala
- Coat the entire leg with the jaggery-tamarind marinade. Allow the leg to marinate for atleast 2 hours at room temperature or ideally overnight in the refrigerator
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
- While the oven is heating, prepare your vegetables by peeling the sweet potatoes and carrots and quartering all of them. Also, peel and chop the onion in eights and crush the garlic with the peel on
- Heat a big pan on the stove and add in the ghee. Place the entire leg of lamb in the pan allowing the skin to sear and brown
- Remove the lamb and place in a roasting tray. In the same pan, add in your vegetables and cook them uncovered for about 5- 10 mins - this is just to allow them to soak up the juices from the meat
- Assemble the leg of lamb in the centre and the roast vegetables around it. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes
- Serve immediately with a mixed green salad