Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Lamb Chops with Bengal Spices

I do not profess to be supremely knowledgeable about India, though I love Indian food and love Indian stories and books. I cannot say if I love everything. I have not ever been there. Yet! The flavors and spices in the food that I have eaten, either in Indian restaurants or in my own home from Indian cookbooks, has gien me a real taste of the spice mixtures and kinds of flavors and styles of cooking. When I titles this recipe "Lamb Chops with Bengali Spices", I am using this regional name because, according to website I checked, most of the spices I used are common in Bengal. If I offend anyone Indian, I do apologize. The lamb chops were excellent!
Lamb Chops with Bengali Spices, just off the grill!

I spent a while on my website and posted the recipe (go here for the recipe itself) there. However, on my website I stick to the recipe and nothing more. Here, while blogging, I can spend time going into the "why" behind a recipe, what took me in that direction and how the recipe came out in the end.

The biggest reason behind going the route of Indian flavors in this recipe was that I had no real idea what to do with the lamb chops I thawed. Indian flavors are a go-to for me. I had made a spice mixture called Panch Phoron (click on Panch Phoron to see the recipe on my website) not too long ago, and had used it when I made it, but not since. I wondered. if this flavor profile would work with lamb chops and how would this spice mix play with other flavors. I also wrote about Panch Phoron as a recipe that uses fenugreek seed in my blog of September 23, 2014. Panch Phoron is considered the Indian version of a Five-Spice, and it is mainly used in the Bengal area. The five spices used are Nigella, Cumin, Mustard Seeds, Fennel Seeds and Fenugreek Seeds.

Searching online for other flavors that are inimical to Bengal, I came up with tamarind and mint. Vinegar is used in some paste mixtures. Black pepper and garlic go without saying. Obviously, when trying to come up with a recipe it helps to have the ingredients. I do own a lot of Indian spices, so I am pretty well prepared in that area. I also keep tamarind paste in the fridge, for such occasions as this. I had made a recipe for a rack of lamb some time ago, and it used tamarind paste. It was one of the best tasting racks of lamb I've had. My lamb chops were all sliced apart; that's how I got them from the woman who sold me the whole lamb, pre-butchered. I never thought to ask about leaving the chops all together. 
Lamb Chops with Bengali Spices

Long and short of it, the tamarind made another great marinade, though I would use a little less next time. This is reflected in the recipe as I set it down in the website. First, because it was just too much marinade for the amount of lamb chops, and with it being too much, was also stronger than needed. I had no problem with the flavors of the lamb chops, and neither did my husband. Finding tamarind paste/concentrate, a specialty item, can be a search, so who wants to waste it?

I did not go the whole route of Indian side dishes. I just grilled some fresh asparagus while grilling the chops and had cooked up some tiny potatoes, whole, then drained and smashed them flat. I fried these flattened, cooked potatoes and fried them in il until they had a crispy exterior and sprinkled them with more toasted Panch Phoron for continuity of flavors. All in all, it was a decidedly delicious dinner and plan to elaborate on this recipe in future. 

The recipe, as stated above, is on my website, under the tab "Recipes" and "Indian". The recipe is very simple, once you have the Panch Phoron mixture of spice and the tamarind paste/concentrate. A couple of hours to marinate the meat and you are set to go. Grilling takes mere minutes. I hope you enjoy!

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.