I won't pretend that this lamb does justice to the infamous ones at Tayyabs or Needoo Grill whose sizzling chops lie on a bed made of cast-iron hotplates rather than a puree. They do however provide a good homemade alternative and easy to put together and throw on a griddle pan, grill, or perhaps a barbecue during that balmy fortnight that usually constitutes the British summer. The turmeric in the puree adds a colourful dimension to the dish. Turmeric also seems to be the health food community's flavour of the month, so here is a way of experiencing it without resorting to a questionable, overpriced turmeric latte from a hipster cafe in London. The texture and flavour of the cauliflower with the milk and butter adds a dense creaminess to the puree so you are not assaulted by the bitter taste of the turmeric.
You don't need to use cutlets for this dish either, the masala marinade will work just as well with lamb chops or even a rack of lamb. The richness of the lamb, slightly burnt after sitting on a very hot griddle pan complements the smooth, creamy texture and flavour of the puree. You may feel a little underwhelmed by the puree when tasting it in isolation of the lamb but don't be tempted to season or spice the puree so as not to compete with the smokey spice from the lamb. I served this with a lightly spiced chickpea curry similar to this recipe.
Masala lamb cutlets with turmeric cauliflower puree
Ingredients (serves 2):
4-6 rack lamb cutlets (or chops)
For the marinade:
a heaped tsp each of garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper
some grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
small amount of oil, about a tbsp
some more oil to fry the lamb (i used rapeseed oil)
For the puree:
1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
around 150g of butter
salt to taste
2 bay leaves
two heaped tsps of ground turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 heaped tsp of toasted cumin seeds (lightly dry fry the seeds on a low heat in a frying pan for a minute)
pinch of saffron (optional)
1. Mix the marinade ingredients together. even though you're using a bit of oil, you should have a dry mix to rub over the cutlets. Set aside for at least two hours if you can and make sure they're at room temperature when you grill them.
2. Use this waiting time to prepare the chick pea curry or any other accompanying dishes.
3. To make the puree, melt the butter in a large pan then add the cloves, salt, bay leaves, saffron, turmeric and cumin seeds and fry on a low to medium heat for two minutes.
4. Then add the cauliflower and add enough milk to just about cover the florets.
5. bring the milk to the boil then simmer until the cauliflower is just soft. be careful not to over cook the cauliflower to avoid a watery texture to the puree.
6. Remove the florets from the milk mixture and blitz in a food processor, adding some milk bit by bit if necessary to get the desire consistency.
7. Heat some oil in a griddle pan until the pan and oil is very hot and place the chops on the pan, cooking on each side for around 5 minutes (check packet instructions) on each side. Don't worry if the cutlets are slightly burned as in this instance it adds to the taste and effect, but lower the heat if you think that they're going to end up cremated.
8. Serve on the puree.