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By Vivienne

These two Indian style dishes will blow your socks off !   Not with their heat but by their luxurious taste and appearance.

Ideal for dinner party for six when you want to do something different and can plan ahead.


RAAN  (leg of lamb dish)

...... not actual size 🙂

Remember if you want to have this for dinner on Saturday night you need to do all this preparation on the Thursday.

Take one good size leg of lamb and trim off all excess fat.

Prick the leg of lamb all over with a skewer.  With a sharp knife make several deep gashes in the flesh.  Put leg into the pan in which you will be roasting it.


  • finely chop about 4 oz of fresh root ginger
  • peel 12 cloves of garlic
  • all the yellow rind of one lemon (just in strips)
  • juice the lemon
  • 2 teaspoon of ground cummin
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of ground chilli (more if you like)
  • 3 teaspoon of salt

Blend all of the above and then spread it over the lamb.

Leave aside while you….

Mix a cup of ground almonds, two tablespoons of soft brown sugar and a cup and a quarter of  plain greek style yoghurt.  This should be enough to cover the leg of lamb.  Don’t worry about the bit at the bottom – you can’t turn it over at this stage.   If this mixture doesn’t look enough to coat the lamb just add some more ground almond and yoghurt.


Cover the lamb and put in fridge for two days.

On the day you want to eat this dish, take out of fridge one hour before starting to cook (bring to room temperature).  Sprinkle two more teaspoons of brown sugar over the lamb.

Preheat oven to 220c or 425F.   Place uncovered dish in oven and roast for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 180 or 350 and roast one more hour.  Then reduce temperature to about 150, and COVER the pan (with foil) and leave slowly roasting for another 4 hours.


Transfer lamb to serving plate, cover and leave in oven while you….

Spoon off any visible fat from roasting pan juices and then add saffron powder – half a teaspoon.  Stir all up on top of stove and let it boil to reduce a little.  You should be able to figure out the consistency.

My recipe says to spoon sauce over the dish but I think it is better to pass around the jug.

You really can’t do a regular carving job, just get stuck into it as it falls apart easily.



Dhansak Lentils

A Parsee chicken with lentils and vegetables dish (my version)


  • 1 cup of lentils (made up of one or four different lentils, whatever you like)
  • 2-3 cups water
  • Salt – 2 tsp
  • Ghee – about 2 tbs
  • Fresh root ginger – 1 inch piece finely chopped
  • Garlic – 1  finely chopped
  • One good size chook, cut up into 8 pieces
  • Fresh mint – 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
  • 1 eggplant – cubed
  • Pumpkin – a cup and a bit peeled and cubed
  • Silverbeet – a cup, chopped up (no stalk bits though)
  • Onion – 1 large, sliced
  • Tomatoes – one can of chopped

For the masala:

  • Ghee – 1 or 2 tablespoons
  • Onion – 1 medium, sliced
  • Fresh root ginger – 1 inch piece finely chopped
  • Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic – 3 cloves finely chopped
  • Cinnamon – ground, half teaspoon
  • Cardamom – ground, half teaspoon
  • Cloves – 3 ground up (optional as far as I am concerned)
  • Turmeric – 2 teaspoons
  • Coriander  – ground – 3 teaspoons


Soak lentils for 30 minutes, drain and then into large saucepan (preferably cast iron),  add water and salt, bring to boil and then simmer for 30 – 40 minutes (until soft obviously).  In another large pot melt ghee and first lot of ginger and garlic and the chicken pieces and lightly brown and then add to lentils.  In same pan as used for chicken pieces, add more ghee, second lot of garlic, ginger, onion and spices and sauté until onion clear but not brown.   Put all this and the other vegetables (pumpkin, eggplant, toms etc) into pan with the chicken.   Simmer away until chicken all cooked and everything smells great and vegetables sort of disintegrated.  Check taste for salt etc.

Note:  When preparing garlic, ginger and onion just do twice the amount first mentioned and halve it for the process.  If you have a good size pot and want to do two chickens you will not need to double all the other ingredients.  2 teaspoons of salt will be about right for 1 or two chooks, ghee will be plenty,  I’d increase vegetables and lentils by 50%, one can of tomatoes should do, but increase spices by 100%  (though the chilli, I leave up to your discretion).

Accompany this dish with Naan bread.  If you can’t make it yourself the brands in the supermarket are passable (just warm up in the micro-wave).



This goes well with any curry, eat it warm or at room temperature.  Taste testers beware – this sambal is deceptively delicious and addictive.

In a tablespoon of ghee (you must use ghee, never oil) lightly cook the following:

  • 1 finely minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 non hot green chilli or pepper
  • half teaspoon of ground ginger
  • “         “             cummin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • quarter tsp hot chilli

Having already cooked 5 potatoes and roughly mashed,  add the above mixture plus salt to taste.  Then stir in some thick coconut milk, a little bit at a time.  Consistency should still be firm.

Other usual side dishes recommended (apart from your favourite chutney or pickle):

  • Cucumber/yogurt
  • Sliced tomato and onions dressed in lemon juice, salt/pepper
  • Naan and or pappadums
  • If Naan not possible, a basmati rice dish of course

A note from Vivienne

This is the third and last instalment of recipes from me for the time being.  I don’t want to wear out my welcome.  Some of the other ideas I have are more suited to the winter months so I do intend to do another series.  In the meantime if any of you lovely people have a foodie question please feel free to ask and I’ll endeavour to assist in whatever way I can.