Sweet and Spicy Grilled Leg of Lamb

Ramu no shōga Yaki

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

The Japanese rarely eat large quantities of meat, and most home kitchens don’t have an oven large enough to accommodate a 5- or 6-pound roast. The roasted leg of lamb may seem terribly English at first, until you taste the rich ginger and soy glaze; it assures a happy cross-cultural culinary experience!


    to 6-pound leg of lamb

  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • generous ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large knobs fresh ginger, about 3 ounces in all
  • ¼ cup saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • watercress, parsley, OR tsumamina (radish sprouts), optional


Trim away all excess fat from the leg of lamb. Peel the cloves of garlic and slice each, lengthwise, into five or six pieces. Make shallow slits at random in the meat and bury a piece of garlic in each. Rub the salt well over the meat.

Peel the ginger, saving the peels for later use. Grate the ginger and mix it with 1 tablespoon of the rice wine. Use this mixture to cover the meat entirely. Wrap the meat in clear plastic wrap and allow it to marinate for 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, and syrupy rice wine and add the peels from the ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, over medium heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook the sauce for 20 minutes, or until it thickens slightly. Strain the sauce. This glaze can be made several days ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Scrape off and discard the grated ginger coating on the lamb and rub the entire surface lightly with the vegetable oil. If the bone is exposed, cover it with foil. Place the meat, rounded side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast the meat, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and brush the lamb with the gingery soy glaze. Cover and roast for 1½–2 more hours, or until a meat thermometer registers 150–160 degrees, for beautifully rosy meat. Brush the lamb with additional glaze every 20-30 minutes while roasting. Uncover the lamb for the final 20 minutes. If during that time the juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan should appear to be in danger of scorching, add a few drops of cold water to the pan.

Allow the leg of lamb to sit for at least 15 minutes and up to ½ hour before carving. If you’re concerned about serving your sliced meat hot, make a cover of foil to enclose the roasted leg while it rests and remove the lamb from the oven when the thermometer reads 150 degrees. To carve, lift the leg bone and cut down along it in thin slices. Arrange the slices slightly overlapped in domino fashion on a serving platter. Garnish the platter with watercress, parsley, or radish sprouts, if you wish. Serve the remaining gingery soy glazing sauce on the side.