Royal Lamb Chops Braised With Nuts And Saffron

Royal cumin (black cumin) or shahi jeera gets its name from the royal Moghul dishes it was most used in. This elegant entree is a specialty of Rajasthan, home of the Rajput warriors.

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup slivered pistachios
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1” piece fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • seeds from 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 fresh hot green chile
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp black cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 lamb rib chops
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads, dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


Heat 2 tbsp of the butter in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add almonds and pistachios; cook, stirring, until light brown, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Combine the garlic, ginger, coriander, cardamom, chili, peppercorns, cloves, cumin, mace and water in a blender and blend to form a smooth paste.

Arrange lamb in a large shallow dish. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of lamb. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and brown well on both sides. Add 1/4 cup of the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add remaining water; sprinkle in saffron. Cover and cook until lamb is tender, about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Stir in peas and cook 5 minutes longer. Sauce should be very thick.

Transfer lamb to a heated platter. Stir sauce and pour over lamb. Top with fried nuts and cilantro.