Ramadaan is my time of the year. I love the month, and it’s the one time I go all out for my family. I lovingly prepare meals, prep in advance for Eid and cook up a storm and a half in the days before Eid. I sit on my couch now 4 days later, snacking on ALL the leftovers.
Our Eid traditions are a mix of old traditions learned in my parents home and new traditions I established when I moved into my own place. I prepare a light breakfast, after breakfast we spend a big part of Eid travelling to my parents in Klerksdorp. In previous years I would grudgingly drag myself into the kitchen the day after Eid and cook, while at the same time craving Eid food. So about 4 years ago I established a Vahi Eid (literally translated as stale eid ). I prepare and marinate all my meals, and we have a lovely dinner spread the day after Eid. I usually make a saffron, coconut and almond infused masala chicken, prawns and the star of the show is a leg of lamb. The lamb always gets the most compliments and I have perfected my technique and recipe over the years.
My lamb is secured from my father who sources the best quality meat at really good prices.
So what’s the secret to my leg of lamb? Well, its 3 unconventional methods that involve salt, a slow cooker and a good marinade, you also need a good amount of prep time.
I start off my cleaning the lamb and brining it for between 6-12 hours. I then marinate and cook it in a slow cooker for 9-12 hours and that’s how I am left with the most succulent tender lamb that literally melts of the bone. I was gifted a slow cooker by my mom a few years ago and I promise you I whip this out every time I have to cook a leg of lamb. I find it yields the best results without much fuss. It wont overcook or dry out and you don’t have to worry about it burning. If you don’t have a slow cooker I would recommend using a cast iron pot, add a cup of stock and cook on low in your oven for around 12 hours.
I also prefer a salt and pepper recipe as opposed to masala, but you can use my methods and swap out a marinade that you prefer. I haven’t included exact measurements because I use more or less according to taste and according to the size of the lamb.
Leg of Lamb by Safeera Kaka
2 days before cooking
Clean your leg of lamb
Boil some water and transfer into a dish large enough to fit the leg
A handful of pink salt
Half a handful of brown sugar
Give this a good stir until the salt and sugar and dissolved and top with cold water. Allow to cool and insert your leg of lamb. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight. The next morning drain the water, remove the spices from the lamb and pat dry.
If the meat you purchase is tender (usually in spring and summer) you can successfully skip this step.
1 day before cooking
Make a marinade with the following ingredients
A half a cup of mayyonaise
A half a cup of plain yogurt
A desert spoon of vinegar
Juice of 2/3 lemons
A generous tbl of Gorimas pepper steak spice (or lemon pepper)
A dash of worcestershire sauce
1 tbl of fresh ground garlic
1 tbl of ground green chilli
1 tbl cumin and coriander powder
1 tbl of honey/ brown sugar
Springs of fresh thyme and rosemary
Make deep gashes into your leg and add some garlic cloves. Pour over the marinade (as you make it keep tasting for a balance of spicy, sweet and earthy flavours). Allow to marinate overnight.
Remove the lamb from the fridge and transfer to a slow cooker, cook on high for around 6 hours, and low for another 3/4 hours of until serving. Rotate every time you check on your lamb so it cooks evenly. An hour or 2 before serving add some baby onions and seperately roast some potatoes. Scoop out all the liquid and onions from the cooker and tranfer to a small pot. Skim the majority of fat and discard. Simmer the cooking liquid with a 1/2 tbl of gravy powder. When thickened coat your potatoes in the gravy. At this stage you can remove the lamb onto your serving dish, discard the herb stems and top with the extra gravy, potatoes and onion. Garnish with micro herbs and serve. I usually make a side of salads, and roasted veg.
To cook this in an oven preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celcius. Add your lamb to a heavy bottomed pot or a roasting dish. Fill halfway with water and cup of veg stock. Cover tightly with foil or your pot lid and roast on low heat overnight, keep turning once or twice during the cooking time. You can also top with extra water if it burns out. For a 2kg piece of lamb give it about 6 hours in the oven on low. In the last hour add your potatoes. You can also switch on the grill and brown the top slightly just before serving time.
In a pressure cooker follow the manufacturers manual.
For cooking in the instapot use the slow cooking recommendations.
If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, shred the meat and coat with the gravy and fill with salads into buttered ciabatta rolls. This makes an excellent sandwich for work or school the next day, just ensure your co-workers don’t eat your sandwich 😉
Gorimas Spices are available at Eastern Temptations in Greenside or their stand alone stores in Durban.