Tandoori lamb chops are a culinary delight that marries the rich, succulent flavor of lamb with the aromatic spices and vibrant hues of traditional Indian tandoori cuisine. This dish is a testament to the artistry of Indian cooking, where the use of a tandoor, or clay oven, imparts a distinct smokiness and char to the meat.

Luscious Tandoori Lamb Chops

Suvir Saran thinks these sizzling, marinated chops, inspired by a recipe from the 90-year-old restaurant Karim in the Grand Mosque (Jama Masjid) area of Delhi, epitomize the very best of northwestern India’s opulent Moghul cuisine. To give the marinade the richness of Indian yogurt, which is made from whole milk, Saran adds heavy cream. At Karim (and at Dévi and Véda), these chops are cooked in a searingly hot tandoor (clay oven), so grilling is a good alternative. More Lamb Recipes

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 10 mins


  • 8 lamb rib chops (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

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  1. Using a paring knife, cut a few 1/4-inch-deep slashes in each lamb chop. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the heavy cream, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, malt vinegar, garam masala, cumin, paprika, cayenne, mace, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of salt. Transfer the lamb chops to the marinade and turn to coat, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Add the oil to the marinade and toss with the lamb chops. Remove the chops from the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  3. Light a grill. Season the chops with salt and grill over moderately high heat for 8 minutes, turning once, until well browned. Brush both sides of the chops with the melted butter and grill for another 2 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Luscious Tandoori Lamb Chops

Suggested Pairing

These meaty chops taste even better with a fruity red that has enough structure to cut through the rich yogurt marinade. The ideal choice a plummy Cabernet Shiraz.

Originally appeared: July 2006