Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tahini and pomegranate molasses marinated lamb with mint yoghurt

Alas, I don't have time this week for a longer post, but I would like to share this fabulously convivial spread with you. I made it over the weekend for friends, and it went down a treat. It's a very simple, throw-together meal but it’s tasty and satisfying. The deep savouriness of the lamb is balanced by lots of fresh lemon juice and creamy mint yoghurt, but be warned if you’re squeamish about garlic, because there’s a lot of it! Feel free to halve the quantity or leave it out altogether (I am incapable of restraining myself when it come to the bulb). A great spread for balmy evenings and casual al fresco eating with friends and family.

Okay, I lied. I do have time to write a longer post, but it feels weird to prattle on about my thoughts on nothing in particular when so many people's lives have been devastated by the tsunami. Every time I try to writing something, I just stop, stare at it, and then delete it because it seems so pointless, or hypocritical.

I promise to be over my existential crisis by next week. If your soul is in need of nourishment, as mine was, make this — to me it feels like the food equivalent of a long, warm hug from my imaginary Mediterranean mama.

Tahini, rosemary and pomegranate molasses
marinated lamb with mint yoghurt

Serves 4

About 1 kg free-range, deboned and butterflied leg of lamb,
trimmed of fat
1 cup tahini
juice of 2 medium lemons
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses*
Sea salt, to taste
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
two sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Mint yoghurt:
500ml thick, full cream yoghurt
1 handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Sea salt, to taste

1. In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients. Before you rub the marinade into the lamb, make sure it is no thicker than 5 cm. If it is, place the lamb between two sheets of cling wrap and gently pound with a rolling pin until you have the desired thickness. Then, using your hands, rub the marinade into the lamb, cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the lamb and as much of the marinade as possible into an oven-proof dish and cover with tin foil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until cooked but still very rare in the middle. Remove the tin foil and grill on both sides until golden (keep an eye on it, as the marinade has a tendency to char quite easily). Remove from oven, wrap the lamb in tin foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes or so (this will make the meat more tender and allow the flavours to develop). Reserve the leftover marinade in the oven-proof dish.
3. While the lamb is cooking, place the yoghurt, mint, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a bowl and blend using a hand-held blender.
4. Slice the lamb into strips and return to the oven-proof dish, sloshing them around to coat them in the marinade, which should be thinned by the juices from the lamb. Serve with the yoghurt, some pita bread and a bowl of what I like to call ‘deconstructed hummus’: 2 cans chickpeas, drained; one small red onion, finely sliced; ½ cup tahini; 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; juice of 1 large lemon, all mixed up in a bowl. Add a side salad of finely diced cucumber and tomato (not pictured), and you have the makings of a fabulous Middle East-inspired feast.
*Pomegranate molasses is available at most good delicatessens and Middle Eastern foods stores.

Pssssssst! If you're in Cape Town, join me at the Eat In Awards at the Old Biscuit Mill this Thursday: A night market, fabulous food and Dave Ferguson. It's going to be more fun than a bag of squirrels in a banjo, that's all I can say.

Also, if you have time (and a heart), please sign this petition for Woolworths, Spar, Pick n Pay and Checkers to stop stocking battery eggs and chickens, or using them in their products.


  1. yummy!
    sending you hugs from rainy milan :)

  2. That sounds delicious! Fabulous flavors.



  3. Yummy! I love lamb and that Middle Eastern inspired dish looks amazing. Well done!

  4. oh wow I'm glad I'm a carnivore - going to try this soon! and cannot believe I have only found your blog today! it's a masterpiece! thanks for your comment xox ashe

  5. Nice one Koek! I recently brought some tahini paste back from Abu Dhabi to make moutabel because nothing like that is available here in Taiwan. Anything I can substitute it with in the future?

  6. Thanks kitchen boy! Hmmm - not sure. Blended peanuts or cashews perhaps?

  7. wow. now there's some great flavour combo's going on here Robyn. Lovin it.

  8. This looks fantastic. And I share your love for the bulb, I love going overboard with it.

  9. The lamb is cooked to perfection andall the accompanying sauces to die for. Sorry I missed you at the market!

  10. MMMMMMM,...Your lamb dish is a special well flavoured one!! Your lamb is cooked to perfection, perfectly rose!!

    I love spring lamb!

  11. My family all love lamb, but I never heard of pomegranate molasses before. I will have to look for some, and the mint yoghurt sure adds a nice touch!

  12. I just saw this recipe with its identical photo in a magazine. I'm glad you enjoyed making it, however you should credit the source and photographer whenever possible.