Raan -sublime slow braised leg / shoulder of lamb

So…theres this slow braised kind of lamb which I’m sure had it’s origins in the Levant region or with the Ottomans.. in the middle east it’s quite the custom to serve a braised / roasted whole lamb for a feast.

Since we don’t have Tyrannosaurus sized ovens at home and because a raan is an Indian version of the middle eastern thing we will use the lamb leg . You could use a shoulder..if you like that’s perfectly fine . The idea is to get it so tender that when you touch it with your fork or fingers the meat should be easy to tear off ..kind of like the Galouti kebab invented for the toothless Nawab but not as melty..but you get the general idea.

The first step is to get a whole shoulder or leg of lamb, not too big approximately 1.5 kgs -2 kgs..a day and half before you want to eat this any faster and you swiftly lose the plot..its not meant to be fast food.


  • Lamb leg / shoulder bone in( better flavour)-1.5-2 kg
  • Plain natural yoghurt- approximately 200 g
  • Red chilli powder bright red in colour not crazy hot- as much as you like/ or 1/2 t
  • fried onions – approximately 2 T or 35-40 g
  • Ginger chopped/ ground- 20 g
  • Garlic chopped / ground- 30 g
  • Nutmeg grated – very small pinch .grate it fresh it’s better but not too much it can be toxic and and we don’t to overpower the meat flavour
  • Turmeric – yup the stuff they add in these new fangled lattes these days – pinch
  • Slit green chilli- 2-3 depending on how much heat you want..
  • Roasted cashew – 1 T ground to a paste .. this is optional but adds some thickening to the sauce and makes it richer.
  • whole spices-a few green and black cardamom, a few clove and a small stick of cinnamon.

So we are going to poke the lamb with a fork or the tip of a stout sharp knife , minding those fingers we don’t want you bleeding all over the beautiful meat.

Then we combine all the ingredients and rub it into the meat with some salt ..cover it all up and keep it overnight in the fridge .

The next day if you want this for dinner then you need to start in the morning and slow roast this with some water or better still lamb stock..

So the way to do this is keep it In a deep dish/ roasting pan lined with baking paper + foil underneath .then set your oven to 170C/ 375F . Add liquid ( stock or water) till it’s atleast 1/3 rd upto level of the meat . Then slow cook this and baste several times so it’s stays moist .

The liquid helps the break down the connective tissue in the meat faster and converts it to gelatine( but that’s the science behind it). We use science to make yummy food. We also test the lamb for doneness the old fashioned way.. poke it till the meat is fork tender .almost falling off the bone.. ( no this is not eaten medium rare or pink ) .

When youve achieved this take off the heat and flavour with some fresh mint and a pinch of garam masala .In some of our hotels we would flambe this with some dark rum but I believe this was more for the ” Oooh Aahh ” factor ..let’s save the rum for the chocolate truffles ..

Serve with hot parathas basmati rice or Turkish bread . Best eaten with a crowd as a part of a few more food offerings .more is good in this case.