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Rajarani lamb in yoghurt

Serves   4
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 mins

"Delectable morsels of NZ spring lamb cradled in a creamy spiced yoghurt sauce, scented with fried onions and saffron. I love this dish because it transforms the best lamb in the world - from my country of upbringing - New Zealand - with spices, methods and love from my country of birth India."





  • Four large onions
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil
  • Six whole green cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • one two inch piece of cinnamon bark
  • 1 cup natural creamy yoghurt
  • 1/2 kilo spring lamb cubes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • Few saffron threads soaked in 1/2 tsp water
  • 3 Tbsp rice bran oil
  • Large iceberg lettuce leaves for serving
  • 3 Tbsp toasted almonds
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander & mint


  1. Slice onions in rings.
  2. Heat oil in large frypan pan to medium.
  3. Put in whole spices into oil in pan.
  4. Put in onion rings.
  5. Fry until onions are brown (12-15 mins).
  6. Add fried onions to yogurt keep aside.

Prepare meat:

  1. Mix lamb cubes with spices and garlic.
  2. Add the yoghurt/onion mixture.
  3. Mix meat and yoghur mixture well.
  4. Cover and marinate the NZ/Indian lamb mixture for one day to make this dish really tasty and fit for a King (Raja) and Queen (Rani).
  5. Have a good night's sleep.
  6. Heat the second measure of oil in a heavy bottom pan to high heat.
  7. Put in the marinated meat for 3 mins.
  8. Turn heat down to low.
  9. Add the saffron.
  10. Put the pan lid on, but leave a 2 inch air gap for steam to escape during cooking.
  11. Cook the meat for approximately one hour low heat or until very tender.
  12. Take the lid off and cook for ten minutes on high until the sauce is a thick consistency.


  1. Arrange lettuce leaves on flat platter.
  2. Arrange lamb on the leaves.
  3. Garnish lamb with toasted almonds and coriander and mint.
  4. Serve with crispy roasted potatoes and New Zealand minted peas for Kiwi twist on on this Indian dish.

The following prep time does not include marinating time.