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Cumin Crusted Lamb with Watermelon Chutney

Like cilantro or licorice, lamb is one of those polarizing foods that people feel strongly about either way. I used to find the barnyard aroma unpleasant at best, but as I ate it more, it went from offensive to tolerable to delicious. If my track record of posting lamb dishes is any indicator you might
Course Entree
Cuisine Experimental, Indian
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Fruit, Lamb
Diet Gluten-Free

Ingredients

for chutney

  • 2 cups watermelon fresh juice (strained through a tea strainer)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seed ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon coriander seed ground
  • 1 teaspoon amchoor powder (powdered mango)
  • 1 clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (halve if using regular salt)

for raita

  • 1 celery stalk (cut into 1/4" dice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yogurt plain
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (halve if using regular salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds toasted black
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic grated (about 1 small clove)

for lamb

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoons coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (halve if using regular salt)
  • 1 rack of lamb , frenched

Instructions

  1. For the watermelon chutney, put the watermelon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. You can skim off the red foam that floats to the surface, but I left it in for color. Add the ground cumin, coriander, amchoor powder, clove and salt. Continue boiling until it's reduced in volume to about 1/2 a cup. It should be thick and syrupy, like a loose gravy. Transfer your chutney to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. To prepare the raita, add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the celery and let it stand for about 1 hour. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the celery and add it to a small bowl with the yogurt, salt, honey, mustard seed, celery seed, and garlic. Stir to combine and keep refrigerated.
  3. For the lamb, put the cumin, celery, fennel and coriander seed in a cast iron skillet and toast over medium high heat until the spices are medium brown and fragrant. Transfer them to a spice grinder, and give it a few quick pulses to break up the seeds (but not long enough to turn it into a powder). Combine the spices and salt and sprinkle it onto the rack of lamb. You want to get a nice thick coating, so us all of the spice rub.
  4. If you are grilling the lamb, place the rack over indirect heat until an instant read thermometer reads 130 degrees F (medium rare). If you are pan frying, add some oil to a cast iron skillet over medium heat and fry each side of the lamb until it reaches a dark golden brown. Finish it off in a 350 degree oven until an instant read thermometer reads 130 degrees F (medium rare).
  5. Transfer the rack to a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice the lamb between each rib, then plate with a drizzle of watermelon chutney and a side of celery raita.