Indian Roast Leg of Lamb (Masala Raan) Recipe

Masala Raan
Masala Raan. Monkey Business Images/Dreamtime.com
  • 31 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 28 hrs,
  • Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings Indian lamb
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Want to wow your friends and family with a delicious, wholesome meal? Try this Indian roasted leg of lamb recipe known as masala raan. 

A whole leg of lamb is marinated in a delicious blend of aromatic spices and then roasted for three hours until it is tender and succulent.

All this main course needs as an accompaniment is plain rice and a green salad or Indian flatbread known as parathas and a salad. 

Keep in mind the leg of lamb must be marinated for 24 hours so plan accordingly.

What You'll Need

  • For the Lamb:
  • 4.4-pound (2 kg-) trimmed leg of lamb (see below for directions)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 1 pound (1/2 kg) onions cut into quarters
  • 1.77 ounces (50 g) almonds
  • 3 green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 17.64 ounces (500 g) unsweetened yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 3 tablespoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 tablespoons neutral oil like vegetable, canola or sunflower
  • 8 to 10 whole cloves
  • 15 pods green cardamom
  • 2 (1-inch) sticks cinnamon
  • 12 to 15 black peppercorns

How to Make It

Prepare the Lamb

  1. Trim all the fat off the leg of lamb. Using a sharp, pointed knife, remove any sinew (which looks like a thin, almost transparent film on parts of the meat).
  2. Alternatively, have your butcher do this for you. If the leg will be too large for your pans or your oven, ask the butcher to cut it into two pieces.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut deep slashes all over the meat. This allows the marinade to penetrate the meat and makes for a seriously well-flavored leg of lamb.
  1. Place the meat in the center of a well-greased baking dish or pan.

Marinate the Meat

  1. Place the quartered onions, almonds, green chilies, and garlic and ginger pastes into a food processor and grind into a smooth, thick paste, only adding water while grinding if absolutely necessary.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the yogurt until smooth and then mix it with the paste you just made (above).
  3. Add the cumin, coriander, red chili powder and gram masala to the yogurt and mix to blend well.
  4. Now add the onion-almond paste that you ground earlier. Mix everything until completely combined.
  5. Pour this marinade all over the meat and use your hands to rub the marinade into the meat, pushing it into the slashes you cut on the surface of the leg. Make sure all of the meat is well covered with the marinade.
  6. Cling wrap the baking dish and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Roast the Lamb

  1. Remove the marinated leg of lamb from the refrigerator and keep out to warm up to room temperature.
  2. Heat the oven to 400 F (200 C/Gas Mark 6).
  3. When the leg of lamb has warmed up to room temperature, remove the cling film.
  4. In a skillet, heat the oil and, when hot, add all the whole spices -- cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and peppercorns. Sauté until they stop sizzling and begin to give off an aroma.
  5. Pour the oil with the spices in it, all over the marinated meat. Now cover the pan tightly with foil.
  6. Put the pan in the heated oven and cook for 2 hours.
  7. Now uncover the raan and cook for 1 more hour. Baste the raan every 10 minutes or so to ensure it remains moist.
  8. Remove the raan from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  9. Carve the rested lamb into thick slices and serve garnished with the slivered almonds. You can spoon the pan juices over the meat if desired.
  10. Masala raan goes well with plain rice and a salad or with Indian flatbreads known as parathas or naan.