Lamb Fillets Braised with Tamarind & Coconut on Black Rice

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Preparation info

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Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

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In this dish the sweetness of the coconut, and indeed the lamb, is offset by the sharpness of the tamarind. I have served it both as a starter and, with lamb loin in place of the fillets, as a main course. Black rice is a native of Southeast Asia and is a real rice – it shouldn’t be confused with Canadian wild rice, which is actually a form of grass seed. In Asia it is usually eaten as a dessert rice (as in the famous black rice and banana pudding of Ubud, Bali). If you can’t find it, use organic brown rice as it’s the nuttiness of the rice that works so well in this dish.


  • 12 lamb fillets, each about 60g (2oz)
  • 1 cup black rice
  • Salt
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 30ml (1fl oz) sesame oil
  • 400ml (14 fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce


Begin by cooking the rice. Rinse it well under cold water in a colander to remove dust and dirt and then put it into a deep, heavy-bottomed pot with half a teaspoon of salt and the three cups of water. Put a lid on and heat on an element turned to high. When it comes to the boil stir well and turn to a simmer, then put the lid back on. It will take a lot longer to cook than white rice, so after 15 minutes give it a gentle stir, add more water if needed and keep it cooking. Check again after another 10 minutes. This rice is very glutinous, so don’t expect it to go fluffy – when cooked it will still be on the chewy side. Stir in half the coriander and put the rice to one side with the lid on.

Toss the lamb in the sesame oil and bring a frying pan to a high heat. Add all the fillets and brown on all sides. Pour in the coconut milk, tamarind paste and fish sauce and bring to the boil, then turn to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Now remove the fillets – which should be nicely pink on the inside – to a warm plate. Turn the tamarind mixture up to a full boil again and reduce it by half.

Serve the lamb on top of the rice with the sauce poured over and the remaining coriander sprinkled on top of that.