If it is on the menu, I'm ordering it. Indian takeaways always seem to be able to produce lamb chops that are out of this world. How do they do it? With a lamb chops marinade! Indian chefs have a few secrets, but today I will share what I have learned. Below you'll find a detailed guide and recipe for a lamb chop marinade, why we include certain ingredients and how to get the perfect result.
How To Get That Authentic Indian Takeaway Lamb Chop Taste
I'm going to make you a little bet…
I reckon you've scoured the internet trying to find exactly how to make chops, just like the takeaway at home.
You've been left disappointed, right?
Well, don't worry, because this is exactly how the Indian chefs in takeaways do it. No fluff, no-nonsense, just a 100% authentic Indian takeaway recipe.
I'll just come right out and say it.
To make your lamb chops marinade Indian-restaurant style perfect, you are going to need three things: -
- You will be cooking using blistering hot heat
- You will need meat tenderising powder
- You will have to do a two-step marination process
All of the above steps are easy, but you'll find most recipes miss at least one of the above.
Let's check out the above points and more in my detailed lamb chop marinade guide…
Indian Lamb Chops Marinade | A Detailed Breakdown to Juicy Indian Style Chops!
Ok, folks, here it is. You need to do this if you want to make your lamb chops marinade Indian takeaway style.
First, the ingredients.
You'll want to have the following on hand…
- Lamb chops (2 per person is normally about right)
- Garlic and ginger paste
- A little oil
- Meat tenderising powder
- Greek yoghurt
- Powdered cumin
- Kashmiri chilli powder
- Coriander powder
- Tandoori masala powder
- Garam masala
- Lemon or lime juice
- Salt and pepper
That's it! Seriously!
Now that we know what's in the lamb chops marinade, let's break down a few techniques and ingredients so we can learn the secrets of the masters.
Lamb Chops Marinade, Indian Style Secrets…
There's quite a bit going on with the ingredients. Some are for flavour, and a few add a little 'extra' to the dish. Here's what you need to know
- Lemon juice
- Tenderizing Powder
The above ingredients from my list aren't really there for flavour. In fact, you will become something of a scientist as you make these chops.
All of the above are included in the marinade to tenderise the meat.
Lemon juice is a mild acid. It does add a little flavour, but we include it because of its ability to soften meat and make it slightly juicier.
Authentic? You bet; even the Times of India agrees!
If you've ever tried buttermilk fried chicken, you will already know about the tenderising properties of dairy. We add yoghurt for precisely this reason. As with lemon juice, yoghurt is acidic. This breaks down the protein molecules in your chops and draws out water, giving the meat a softer texture. It also acts as a great 'carrier' of the herbs and spices, letting them stick to the meat during cooking.
And then there is the star of the show. This is a real Indian takeaway secret.
We are, of course, talking about meat tenderising powder.
Now listen, don't get all worried about this being something synthetic, like MSG. It isn't.
Meat tenderising powder is normally a mix of ionised salt and papaya or pineapple extract. Both of these fruits contain a compound called Bromelain. Bromelain unravels protein strands in food, making it softer. (It also does the same in your mouth, which is why you get sore spots if you eat a pineapple).
Look on the bright side.
It will definitely work on a lamb chop or two if it works in your mouth!
Flavour Ingredients for Tandoori Chops
Good Tandoori style chops aren't just about texture. They are also about taste.
Here's the secret.
We combine a host of Indian spices and a little oil to make a marinade that will permeate and soak into the meat.
Kashmiri chilli, tandoori masala and paprika impart both flavour and colour. Alongside, you've got the solid Indian stalwarts of garam masala and coriander, not to mention a little cumin.
But do you want to know the secret to an authentic Indian chop marinade?
Garlic and ginger! We add these early on to ensure maximum taste and flavour.
Speaking of which, here's a technique you will have to apply.
2 – Step Marinading
To get your Indian chops tasting authentic, you must marinate them in two stages. It looks something like this: -
Stage 1 – Tenderizing and base flavour foundation (1 hour)
This short initial step is the base on which you will build something awesome. The marinade is simple. A little lemon juice, some oil, a small spoonful of meat tenderising powder and some garlic and ginger paste.
The meat will soften, and as it does so, it will start to draw in some of those delicious garlic and ginger flavours.
You'll notice that the exterior turns a different colour as the meat begins to 'cook'. This is a good thing and means it's working.
Stage 2 – Soaking up flavours (4 – 24 hours)
Once we've done the prep and the meat is all tender, it's time to take advantage. We go in with a simple spice mix of coriander, cumin, paprika, tandoori masala and chilli powder.
From there, it is just a case of letting everything mix and mingle. 4 hours is enough time, but for super amazing Indian-style chops, you can leave them in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Cooking Over High Heat
Any Indian lamb chop recipe that has you cooking them for more than 10 minutes is codswallop.
Here's how Indian chefs do it.
They cook them fast and hard over ridiculously high heat. There are a few ways to get the desired effect: -
- Cook them in an authentic tandoor (you can find out how to make one here)
- Cook them over a preheated barbecue on the highest setting
- Cook your chops in a preheated oven on the highest setting.
By cooking the chops quickly, you'll have a slightly charred outer exterior with soft and pink flesh beneath. Cook them low and slow, and you'll have a one-way ticket to tough-town!
Regardless of your style, go for no longer than 10 minutes.
Thank me later.
Below you'll find the complete lamb chops marinade (Indian style) below. I appreciate not everyone has a home tandoor or barbecue, so for today, we'll use the oven.
Indian Lamb Chops Marinade | Recipe FAQ
Still, got questions?
Don't worry, because this is a secret technique, it is all new. Here are the things I am asked most often about Indian-style chops
Is This Indian Lamb Chop Recipe Authentic?
Yes, it is! It was given to me by an Indian restaurant. They actually offer a service where they will post you authentic curries and ingredients. You can learn more about East at Home here.
How Long Should I Marinate Lamb Chops?
As a general rule, the longer you marinate chops, the better. Longer marination has two notable effects. Certain ingredients will make the meat more tender, and the longer marination time gives the flavours a chance to soak into the meat. Typically, 4 hours is optimum.
How Do You Soften Lamb Chops?
There are a few ways to ensure tender lamb chops. The following techniques will all work with varying degrees of success: -
- Use a tenderising agent. This could be an acid like lemon juice or fruit juice. Pineapple and papaya juice are both really effective. Meat tenderising powder uses some clever chemistry to achieve the same effect
- Use a hammer. Meat tenderising hammers break and stretch the protein fibres in meat. If you haven't got time to let them soak in a tenderising agent, this is a quick and dirty technique that will do the job in a pinch
- Cook your meat quickly. Cooking quickly ensures that the meat doesn't turn tough and dry.
- Relax your meat. Once the meat is cooked, letting it stand and 'rest' for a few minutes is good. As the temperature dissipates, the protein fibres relax, and some juices are reabsorbed into the meat. Give it a couple of minutes to ensure perfection once the chops are cooked.
Is Meat Tenderising Powder Bad for You?
Meat tenderising powder is not bad for you. It is elements of dried papaya or pineapple suspended in ionised salt. However, a word to the wise. While meat tenderising powder isn't bad for your health, try not to overdo it. The compound that tenderises meat will also do the same to the lining of your mouth if you include too much in a recipe.
Mouth ulcers, ouch!
Why Are my Lamb Chops Tough?
Generally, there are two reasons why lamb chops turn tough. The first is overcooking. If you cook chops for too long, they will dry out. The fats, proteins, and connective tissue will fuse, making dense and chewy meat.
The second reason is that they haven't been marinated long enough. Stick to the abovementioned techniques, and I guarantee you will have perfect chops every time!
Can You Serve Lamb Pink?
There is some debate as to whether lamb can be served pink or not. It should be ok if you have sourced your meat from a high-quality butcher. The bacteria will likely be found on your chops' exterior, which is killed by cooking.
You should avoid leaving processed lamb, such as lamb mince, pink. There is no guarantee that the centre of the meat hasn't been exposed to bacteria when it was a whole piece.
Can I Use this Marinade Elsewhere?
Are you ready for some great news? This tandoori marinade also works for other meats. I've used it with fish, chicken and even steak! You can marinate any meat in precisely the same way. However, you must adjust the cooking times accordingly, particularly in the case of chicken that must be cooked all through.
Lamb Chops Marinade | Indian Restaurant Style| Final Thoughts
While it is a little time-consuming, the end result is well worth it. You really need to try this lamb chops marinade. Indian chefs sent it to me, and now I'm sharing it with you! This recipe is a great one for the barbecue too! How did it turn out? Why not let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you guys!