Nigel Slater's midweek dinner: lamb with yoghurt and turmeric

I usually grill marinated meats, but this spiced lamb dish is one you can cook in a pan on the hob, too. We cooked this with lamb marinated for an hour and also overnight. The difference was negligible, so marinate as long as you wish. Some rice on the side would be good.


You will need 4 x 200g lamb steaks to serve 2. Peel and crush a large clove of garlic and pound it in a pestle and mortar with a ½ tsp of fennel seeds, then add 1 tsp each of turmeric and ground coriander, and a little black pepper. Put 250ml yoghurt into a mixing bowl then add the spice paste and mix well. Put the lamb steaks into the yoghurt and leave for an hour or so.

Remove the steaks from the yoghurt and, still with the spiced yoghurt sticking to them, cook them in a hot, shallow pan till lightly coloured on either side. Serve with rice.


It is not a good idea to marinate for more than 8 hours, otherwise the meat will go "woolly" and refuse to brown enticingly. Let the meat singe a little, especially on the rim of fat – it adds to the flavour. Rice is appropriate here, but so would be a warm chapati to wrap the meat in. Slice it first, then pick it up in the bread.


Swap the lamb steaks for pork or beef, or for chicken breasts. Add more garlic or a knob of ginger, finely shredded. Introduce a little ground cardamom. Finish with fresh coriander leaves or mint.

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