Raan Musallam

Roast leg of lamb with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and saffron

Raan or Whole roast leg of lamb; served for its ostentatious presentation and long cooking time. The dish is painstakingly prepared using classic spices, marination and cooking techniques which when eaten give a sense of it all. Some of the finest Raan I have eaten is at Dum Pukht at ITC in Delhi, India which includes a long list of spices along with a stuffing that is truly delicious. Traditionally using goat is what makes Raan and its slow cooking technique such an integral part of the recipe. Goat that can be tough although marinated in spices, vinegar and cooked until it is melt in your mouth and succulent is the sign of a classic Raan.

For my recipe I have used lamb given the availability in UK and followed a two marination process. Its something I follow for a lot of tikka recipes too. First with a dry spice rub then a yogurt based wet marinade. Greek yogurt in the marinade gives a thick rich consistency although plenty of chefs prefer buttermilk instead. Tenderizing the meat is a common practice in Indian cooking and there are lots of ways, I’ve opted to use a meat tenderizer which is widely available in shops. You could use malt vinegar instead. Leave it at room temperature for a few hours before refrigerating which enables the meat to absorb all the flavours. The whole process seems lengthy with so many ingredients but I promise you its definitely worth the effort!

Serve with pulao or even some spiced roast potatoes. This dish doesn’t need much else. I’ve added a gravy which gives a little additional sauce to accompany the meal. A perfect meal for a celebrations or to feed a big crowd.


  1. Make a few cuts in the leg of lamb and place in a deep dish. Roast the dry rub spices in a dry frying pan over a low heat for 10 minutes. Shake the pan a few times as they release their aroma. Cool slightly and grind to a fine powder

  2. Rub this spiced powder all over the leg of lamb in the cuts as well. Leave to marinate for 40 minutes while you get the marinade ready

  3. In a large frying pan add the oil and fry the onions until light brown. Turn the heat off and cool. Set half the onions aside for garnish. Add the remaining half of the fried onions, garlic, ginger, green chilli and 2 tbsps of the greek yoghurt to a blender. Blend to a smooth fine paste

  4. In a large bowl add the blended paste along with the remaining yoghurt, chilli powder, saffron and meat tenderiser. Season to taste and mix well. Pour this marinade all over the leg of lamb mixing well. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 5-6 hours. Then refrigerate overnight as the lamb soaks in the flavour of the spices

  5. Preheat the oven to 180c. Take the lamb out and rest at room temperature for an hour before cooking. Add the lamb to an over proof baking dish along with the warm water. Reserve any of the leftover marinade for the gravy later

  6. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Take the baking tray out of the oven and add the peeled shallots to the lamb. Baste the lamb with the juices at the bottom of the dish and put it back in the oven to continue cooking for 40 minutes without foil. Once it’s done take the baking tray out and rest the lamb for 25 minutes covered with foil and make the gravy while it’s resting

  7. For the gravy- Blend the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste with a splash of water in a grinder. Heat a large frying pan with the oil. Add the paste and fry over a low heat for 2 minutes. Add the spiced powders along with the yoghurt and ground almonds. Add any leftover marinade and juices from the baking tray of the raan to the pan as well. Fry for 4 minutes

  8. Add 100mls water and simmer over a low heat for 12-15 minutes. Stir often making sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add a little more water if required to thin it out slightly. Season to taste and keep warm

    Serve the raan over a serving platter with the fried onions, shallots, mint and pomegranate. Along with saffron pulao and gravy.