Coffee isn’t just about your morning caffeine hit. It’s an ingredient, albeit a bitter one, just like any other and works incredibly well as a rub for slow-cooked meats.






Skill level

Average: 4 (34 votes)


  • 1½-2 kg lamb leg, with bone in
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • warm Lebanese or Greek flatbread, to serve

Spice rub

  • 20 g (¼ cup) freshly ground coffee (very fine grind)
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves


  • 90 g (½ cup) fine burghul
  • 250 ml (1 cup) boiling water
  • 16-20 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • ½ bunch mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch chilli flakes

Chilli yoghurt

  • 200 g Greek-style natural yogurt (not sweet)
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil, or to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
  2. For the spice rub, combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Massage the spice rub all over every part of the lamb, then season with salt and pepper. Place the lamb on a rack in a baking dish and fill with water up to the level of the rack. Cover tightly with foil, then roast for 4½ hours or until very tender. Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 190ºC and roast for another 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp.
  4. For the tabouli salad, place the burghul in a large bowl and pour over the boiling water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and stand for 1 hour.
  5. Season the tomatoes and cucumber with salt and pepper and place in a bowl. Place the burghul on top, then add the parsley and mint. Pour the lemon juice over the top, then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over the chilli flakes and season. Toss together and set aside.  
  6. Place the lamb on a large platter and pour over the juices. Place the yoghurt in a serving bowl and drizzle over the chilli oil. Serve with the tabouli salad and warm flatbreads for guests to help themselves.



Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.