Yemeni - Style Lamb Chops

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

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This is an excellent way of serving lamb in the early autumn, the strong flavours overriding the rather strident taste of the older meat. It is also an excellent way of cooking mutton chops, if you can find them, or even goat.


  • 8 lamb chops from the shoulder
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cloves
  • ¼ nutmeg
  • 450 g/1 lb onions
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 450 g/1 lb tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml/¼ pt chicken stock or water
  • large handful of coriander leaves
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, to garnish



Trim any excess fat from the chops.

Roast the spices gently over a low heat in a dry heavy pan for 3 minutes, stirring. Grind them to a powder.

Peel the onions and slice them. Peel, smash and chop the garlic.


Fry the onions slowly in the oils until golden. This will take about 20 minutes. Stir in the garlic, then the spice mix and tomato paste.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas4.

Rub salt and pepper into the chops, then brown them on both sides in a dry heavy casserole dish.

Remove the lamb, put one-third of the onions on the bottom of the casserole and arrange the chops back on top.

Cover with the remaining onions, pour over the can of tomatoes and the chicken stock or water.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the chops and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Remove and stir in the coriander leaves.


Serve with couscous or plain boiled rice and sprinkle with plenty of parsley leaves.

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