My inspiration for this dish was sambal kambing goreng, fried lamb chops with green chillies, which I had years ago at Melur – a Malay restaurant in an Edgware Road basement (London) run by Pak Awie and his family, who used to run Malaysia Hall Canteen in Bayswater. It is one of those dishes that lingers in my memory, it was that good!






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  • 2½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1½ tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste

Lamb and garnish

  • 1 kg lamb ribs
  • 10 green chillies, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp white sugar

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.


You will need to start this recipe several hours in advance or the night before to allow for marinating time.

Resting time: 20 minutes.

  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and then combine with the meat. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/gas mark 3. Place the lamb pieces on a wire rack set over a baking tin and roast for 90 minutes. Check every 15 minutes, moving pieces that are more coloured away from the heat, and turning them over halfway. The meat should be tender enough to pull away from the bone but not falling off.
  3. While the lamb is cooking, finely chop the green chillies and garlic together in a food processor using the pulse mode.
  4. Remove the lamb from the oven. Immediately wrap it in foil to keep it moist and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  5. While the lamb rests, use a fine metal strainer to pour off the fat from the baking tin into a bowl. You want to reserve the lamb fat, discarding any burnt bits of marinade.
  6. Add the lamb fat to a large frying pan over a medium heat. Stir-fry the chilli-garlic mix for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the sugar. Add the charred lamb ribs to the pan and stir to combine. Be sure to get every last drop of the chilli sauce and oil from the pan onto the lamb when you serve it. Eat immediately.


This is an edited extract from Sambal Shiok: The Malaysian Cookbook by Mandy Yin, published by Quadrille, RRP $49.99, available in stores nationally.