Lamb backstraps are given an international twist in this crunchy, colourful salad that's so easy to make.
1/3 cup (80g) Greek-style yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4 (280g each) lamb backstraps
1 1/4 cups (250g) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, plus extra for cooking
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 tsp panch phora*, dry-roasted, coarsely crushed
2 tbs white wine vinegar
2 egg tomatoes, seeded, cut into 1cm dice
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1cm dice
1 cup (50g) mizuna* or baby rocket
1/3 cup small coriander leaves
Combine yoghurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl. Rub spice mixture over lamb, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, cook drained chickpeas in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 1/4 hours or until tender. Drain. Toss warm chickpeas with olive oil, onion, panch phora, vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of sugar. Set aside.
Preheat a char-grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub lamb generously with extra oil, then cook for 3 minutes each side. Rest lamb for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, cucumber, mizuna and coriander to salad and toss to combine. Cut lamb diagonally into thin slices, then layer with salad in bowls. Serve immediately.
* Panch phora is an Indian spice mix available from delicatessens. Alternatively, use 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds. * Mizuna is a feathery type of salad leaf of Japanese origin sold in bunches and loose in supermarkets and greengrocers. Low-fat option: Lamb backstrap (sometimes sold as lamb sirloin or lamb strap) is a lean, quick-cooking cut suitable for frying and barbecuing. Because it's so lean, backstrap should not be cooked beyond medium.
Notebook: - September 2006
Recipe by Sophia Young