Recipe for Royal Lamb Chops Braised With Nuts And Saffron


1 stephen ceideburg
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup slivered pistachios
6 large garlic cloves
1 one-inch piece fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
5 green cardamom pods,husked
1 fresh hot green chile
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon royal cumin, or regular cumin seeds; (see note)
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 cup water
3 lamb rib chops, 4 ounces each, trim; med of all fat
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, dissolved in 2 tab; lespoons hot water
1 salt (optional)
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley


This elegant entree is a specialty of Rajasthan, home of the Rajput warriors.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add almonds and pistachios; cook, stirring, until light brown, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Combine the garlic, ginger, coriander, cardamom, chili, peppercorns, cloves, cumin, mace and water in a blender and blend to form a smooth paste.

Arrange lamb in a large shallow dish. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of lamb. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and brown well on both sides. Add 1/4 cup of the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add remaining water; sprinkle in saffron. Cover and cook until lamb is tender, about 10 minutes. Taste, and add salt, if needed. Stir in peas and cook 5 minutes longer. Sauce should be very thick. Transfer lamb to a heated platter. Stir sauce and pour over lamb. Top with fried nuts and cilantro.

Note: Royal cumin (black cumin) or shahi jeera gets its name from the royal Moghul dishes it was most used in. It is available at Indian markets.

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