Charcoal-smoked Indian leg of lamb (raan masala)

  • medium
  • 6
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
Not yet rated

This stunning raan masala recipe is delicately smoked with charcoal and cooked in a rich masala sauce, the ideal feasting dish for a special occasion. The leg of lamb is served with crispy shoestring fries and peas for texture and colour.

First published in 2018




Masala marinade

Masala paste

To garnish


  • Pestle and mortar
  • Metal tongs


Mix the ingredients for the masala marinade together in a large bowl. Using the tip of a knife, make small gashes all over the lamb leg then rub the marinade into the lamb. Leave the leg to sit in the marinade in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and sauté the onion on a low heat with the cardamom and bay leaves. Once soft but not coloured, stir in the chilli powder and garam masala
Add the lamb leg and turn the heat up. Rotate the leg until it has coloured on all sides
Add 250ml of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Leave to simmer on a low heat for 1 hour, turning the leg half way through and adding more water if necessary
Preheat a deep-fryer or deep pan of oil to 180°C and fry the onions for the masala paste in batches until crisp before draining on kitchen paper. Keep the oil for frying the potatoes later
Make the masala paste by grinding the cashews, saffron and 40g of the fried onions in a pestle and mortar. Stir in the yoghurt and 120ml of water
Stir this paste into the pan with the lamb to make a thicker sauce. Cook for 5 minutes to heat through, then cover with a lid and turn off the heat
Heat the charcoal over a direct flame until red hot. Place a double layered piece of foil, just bigger than the charcoal, into the pan with the lamb. Using metal tongs, transfer the red hot charcoal to sit on the foil then pour the 2 tsp of ghee over the charcoal to get it smoking. Immediately cover with a lid and leave to smoke for about 10 minutes
  • 2 tsp ghee, melted
  • 2 pieces of charcoal
  • salt
Reheat the oil used to fry the onions to 180°C and fry the potato matchsticks until golden. Work in batches, draining on kitchen paper and leaving the finished fries in a warm place
Carefully remove the foil and charcoal from the pan and stir in the peas. Transfer the leg to a serving dish, pouring all of the sauce over the top, and garnish with the herbs
Serve with the matchstick fries, slices of egg, the remaining crispy onions and some cashews, if desired
  • 2 eggs, hardboiled and sliced
  • 1 handful of cashew nuts, optional

Naheed Hafiz holds a master’s degree in Environmental Law and teaches the subject as a visiting faculty. She has a passion for cooking from her school days where in she took up cooking as a subject for her hobbies class.

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