My dear friend Raghavan Iyer just released his newest cookbook Indian Cooking Unfolded. He is an amazing chef, teacher and author and anyone who meets him basks in the warmth of his smile. Raghavan’s book has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, NPR and The Splendid Table, just to name a few. Raghavan hails from my hometown of Minneapolis and hosted the Emmy-Award winning Asian Flavors documentary (I know, he’s a dynamo) which featured my late mother Leeann Chin! I am so excited to be giving away 10 copies of his book. See details below for your chance to win!
Photo credit: Lucy Schaeffer/Indian Cooking Unfolded
Now I get to share one of my favorite recipes from Raghavan’s book, Festive Lamb Chops with Cardamom. Lamb Chops are sprinkled with a simple masala spice blend, grilled and then served on a bed of creamy spinach. The resulting dish is elegant with layered flavors from the sweet cardamom, mustard seeds and red hot chilies. For all my friends and family in the Midwest and on the East Coast, this dish is sure to tantalize your tastebuds and warm your soul. Hang in there braving the freezing temps and book a ticket to visit me in sunny LA!
- 2 racks of lamb (about 3 pounds total)
- 2 teaspoons black or yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds (removed from the green or white cardamom pods)
- 3 to 4 dried red chiles (like chile de árbol), stems discarded
- 1⁄2 cup almond slices or slivers
- 11⁄2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 6 medium-size cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound prewashed baby spinach leaves, finely shredded
- 1 cup half-and-half
- Cut the racks of lamb into individual chops by slicing in between each rib bone. You should have at least 16 chops.
- Place the mustard seeds, cardamom seeds and chiles in a spice grinder (you can also use a coffee grinder) and grind the blend to the consistency of finely ground black pepper. Tap the spice blend into a small bowl. Working in batches, grind the almonds in the same spice grinder to the same consistency as the spice blend and transfer them to a separate medium-size bowl. Combine 3/4 teaspoon of the salt with the spice blend and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt with the ground almonds.
- Place the lamb chops on a tray and sprinkle half of the spice blend on the tops of the chops (the meat part, not the bone). Press the spice blend into the meat of the chops to make sure it adheres. Turn the chops over and repeat with the remaining spice blend.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, arrange half of the chops in a single layer in the hot oil. The instant sizzle and sear will cook the spices without burning them, thanks to the meaty chops. Cook the chops about 1 minute, then turn them over and repeat on the second side, about 1 minute. Transfer the chops from the skillet to a plate. If the skillet looks dry, add another tablespoon of oil. The heat of the skillet will instantly bring the added oil to the right temperature. Cook the remaining chops the same way you did the first batch. Once cooked, add them to the plate with the first batch.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic to the skillet, and stir-fry until light brown, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the garlic and quickly stir it to make sure there are no lumps. The nuts will foam up and bubble, turning light brown quickly, about 30 seconds. Stir in handfuls of the spinach; the heat will be just right to quickly wilt the shreds. Repeat until all of the spinach has been added.
- Pour the half-and-half into the skillet and scrape the bottom to release all of the bits of almond, spinach and garlic, effectively deglazing the pan and releasing those flavors back into the sauce. Return all of the lamb cops to the pan, making sure they are blanketed with the festive-looking sauce, lush green against a white backdrop. If the skillet is too small to accommodate all of the chops, place half of the chops and sauce in a separate skillet. Cover the skillet(s) and let the chops cook a bit more and absorb some of those lush flavors, about 5 minutes. The chops will be medium-rare. If you want the meat to be less rare, simmer the chops, covered, an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve the lamb chops right away, making sure you spoon all of that satiny spinach sauce around them.
Enter to win one of 10 copies of Indian Cooking Unfolded.
Eligibility: United States. No purchase necessary and subject to these Official Giveaway Rules.
Closing Date: February 24, 2014 11:59 pm PST. Winners will be randomly selected and contacted via email on February 25, 2014. The prize is proudly sponsored by Workman Publishing.
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