By Ally McGrath

THIS tikka spiced lamb shoulder is a truly amazing recipe, and it's the sort of dish that I love to cook at home. As it’s a slow-roasting dish, you can put it in the oven, go out with the family, and when you come home dinner will be ready. If you have any marinade left over it will keep in the fridge for a good few days, and you can use it with chicken or fish, or in soup. I normally serve curried potatoes, tarka dal and onion bhajis as sides, but rice goes just as well – and the leftovers can be used to make a tasty wrap or sandwich.

Tikka Spiced Lamb Shoulder

(Serves: 8)

Preparation time: 30 mins plus time to marinade overnight

Cooking time: 4½-5 hours


1 lamb shoulder

For the tikka marinade:

250g natural yoghurt

2 tsps root ginger

2 tsps garlic

1 tsp red chilli

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp turmeric

½tsp white pepper

½tsp ground cumin

½tsp ground cardamom

½tsp salt

¼tsp ground mace

¼tsp ground nutmeg


1. To make the tikka marinade, place all the ingredients in a liquidiser and blitz until smooth.

2. Pour the marinade over the lamb and rub it in, making sure that all the meat gets covered. Cut into the lamb just by stabbing the knife in, so that the marinade can get right into the core of the meat.

3. Cover in cling film and leave in the fridge to marinade for as long as possible – ideally overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 150°C and cook for 4½-5 hours

Curried potatoes


250g new potatoes

1 onion, diced

1tsp curry powder

1tsp black onion seed

1tsp ground coriander

1tsp ground cumin

100ml chicken stock

Salt to season

A handful of coriander, mint or chopped spring onion


1. Parboil the potatoes, then finish by roasting in the oven until golden.

2. Slowly sweat the onion in oil. Once browned, add the spices and cook for a few minutes before adding the stock. Cook for a further five minutes, then pour over the roast potatoes.

3. Finally, add the herbs and spring onion, and stir everything together.

Tarka dal


250g/9oz chana dal (yellow dried split peas), rinsed until the water runs clear

3 tbsps vegetable oil

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 small onion, chopped

3-4 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife

2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips

3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

3 tomatoes

¾ tsp ground turmeric

¾ tsp garam masala

1½ tsp ground coriander

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves

1 litre of water


1. Place the lentils and 900ml of water into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil.

2. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a spoon. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir regularly for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender, adding more water as you require.

3. When the lentils have cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and use a whisk to break down the lentils. Set the mixture aside to thicken and cool.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until fragrant.

5. Add the onion, chillies and ginger and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown.

6. Blend the garlic and tomatoes to a purée in a food processor. Add the purée to the pan and stir well to combine.

7. Add the ground spices and 100ml of water to the pan, and stir well to combine.

8. Simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil from the sauce has risen to the surface of the sauce.

9. Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and stir well, adding more water as necessary to loosen the mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving.

Onion bhajis


2 red onions, finely sliced

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

8g root ginger, finely grated

1tbsps melted butter

1/2tsps turmeric

6tbsps gram flour

3tbsps. rice flour

25g coriander, chopped

1/4tsps fennel seeds, toasted and crushed

Salt to season

1. Preheat a deep fat fryer to 150°C.

2. In a bowl, mix together the onion, chilli, garlic, ginger, turmeric and butter. Next add the flours, then add water a little at a time, using a tablespoon.

3. Add the coriander, fennel and salt, mix well and leave in the fridge for an hour or so. Mix again and check the consistency.

4. Using a teaspoon cook in small batches. Once golden, drain on paper and lightly season with salt.

Ally McGrath is chef proprietor at Osso Restaurant, 1 Innerleithen Rd, Peebles EH45 8BA Tel 01721 724477