Tandoori Champ (Indian Lamb Ribs)

  • Serves

    serves 4-6


In India these ribs, would be cooked in a tandoor, a clay oven. To achieve a similar oven-roasted effect on a charcoal or gas grill, cook the ribs over indirect heat, then finish them with a sear directly over the fire. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2013 issue with Steven Raichlen's article Secrets of the Grill: Ribs.


  • 2 racks (2 lb.) lamb spareribs (often called Denver ribs)
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (4″-piece) ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 12 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 14 cup malt vinegar
  • 3 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 12 tsp. red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
  • Melted unsalted butter, for serving


Step 1

Place ribs in a roasting pan. Heat cumin seeds and garam masala in an 8″ skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds; let cool. Transfer to a spice grinder; grind into a fine powder. Purée garlic and ginger in a food processor until very smooth. Add the cumin and garam masala powder, plus yogurt, vinegar, cayenne, cardamom, food coloring, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and lemon juice; purée until smooth; rub mixture over ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Step 2

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn off burner on one side (see "Grilling 101"). Grill ribs, flipping once, until slightly charred and tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the outside starts to burn before the ribs are fully cooked, move them to the cooler section of the grill and continue to cook until tender. Rest ribs 20 minutes; slice into individual ribs. Serve with lemon wedges and melted butter.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.