This roast lamb is traditionally cooked well done. You can reduce the cooking time if you prefer the meat a little rare.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (28 votes)


  • 2 – 2.3 kg leg of lamb
  • 40 g (¼ cup) poppy seeds
  • 30 g (¼ cup) freshly grated coconut or 1 tbsp shredded coconut, toasted
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 15 blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3½ tsp ground chilli
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground asafoetida (see Note)
  • 140 g (½ cup) natural yoghurt
  • 150 g ghee, melted
  • 3 bay leaves, lightly crushed
  • 10 curry leaves (see king prawn rougaille recipe note, page 56), lightly crushed
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 30 g (¼ cup) whole aniseed
  • warm naan (see Note), to serve

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.


Marinating time 2 hours
Resting time 10 minutes

Remove most of the fat and sinew from lamb. Using a skewer, prick meat through to the bone to break up the fibres. 

Process poppy seeds and coconut with a little warm water in a food processor until finely ground. Add onions, ginger, almonds, all the ground spices and 3 tsp salt, processing to a paste. Add yoghurt and half the melted ghee. Add bay leaves, curry leaves, cinnamon and aniseed, stirring to combine.

Spread curry paste over lamb. Prick lamb all over again; this allows marinade to penetrate the meat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to marinate.

Preheat oven to 160°C. Place lamb on a greased oven tray and roast, turning halfway and basting occasionally with remaining 75 g melted ghee, for 2½ hours or until browned and meat is tender and well done. Rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with naan.



• Asafoetida, from Middle Eastern and Indian food shops, is a strongly flavoured gum resin that is used extensively in Indian cooking.

• Naan is an Indian flatbread available in packets from supermarkets.


Photography Brett Stevens