Aarti Sequeira’s Alexander the Great's Lamb Chops, as seen on Guy's Ranch Kitchen Season 6.
Recipe courtesy of Aarti Sequeira

Alexander The Great's Lamb Chops

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
This recipe is inspired by the leg of lamb my mum would make every Christmas, “Masala Raan” (masala means spice mix; raan means the leg of an animal, usually mutton, goat or lamb). It was an extensive affair involving a two-day process and two separate marinades, one of green papaya and salt to tenderize the meat, then a second yogurt-based one to flavor it. Cashews and fried onions were used to enrich the marinade, adding buttery richness and a pronounced umami sweetness. The dish is said to have been served by Alexander the Great to a defeated king in India as a sign of goodwill and friendship. Seems pretty appropriate for a Christmas table! Here’s my simplified version using quick-cooking rack of lamb; I decided to turn the cashews and fried onions into a delectable crust. I also added a bright, minty relish with a sour pucker from the barberries—and happily, it mirrors the traditional colors of Christmas, green and red.




Special equipment:
a mortar and pestle
  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 425 degrees F.
  2. Pour the cashews and fried onions into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Pour into a bowl. Return the food processor bowl to the machine.
  3. Set a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cardamom pods and black peppercorns. Toast, stirring frequently, until you can start to smell them. Add the coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Toast until fragrant, another 30 seconds or so. Pour into a mortar and pestle. Allow to cool, then pound until a fine powder forms. Set aside.
  4. Pulse the garlic and ginger in the food processor until finely chopped. Add the ground spices, yogurt, salt, lemon juice, mustard, chile powder and cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons of the cashew-onion mixture. Process until as smooth as possible.
  5. Rub the marinade over the front and back of the racks of lamb, then carefully apply a crust of the cashew-onion mixture over the top, gently pushing the mixture into the marinade so it really adheres. Place the racks on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet, then pop into the oven. Roast for 20 minutes for rare, 25 minutes for medium-rare. (Cover with foil halfway through if starting to turn too toasted.) Remove from the oven, then cover lightly with foil, and allow to rest.
  6. Meanwhile, make the relish: If you’re using barberries, we need to lightly glaze them with some of the lemon juice or else they’ll be too sweet. If you’re using currants, you can skip this step. Warm the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Drain the barberries, then add them to the skillet. Coat in the warm butter, then add sugar and salt to taste. Stir, and cook until they swell, about 3 minutes. Remove to a small bowl. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil, then the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust according to your palate.
  7. Remove the foil and slice the lamb. Top with the relish and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

For the fried onions: These prepared fried onions are available through Indian markets. Unlike the fried onions we use here in the States to top off our green bean casseroles, Indian fried onions have no batter on them, so they have a clean, sweet flavor. You can make your own by simply shallow-frying thin slices of yellow or red onion until golden brown. For the lamb: New Zealand and Australian lamb is on the smaller, leaner and more tender side. American lamb comes from a different species that grows much larger, but is no less delicious! This recipe was written using New Zealand lamb, so if you’re cooking an American lamb rack, you may need to add a little bit more roasting time.