I invented this dish a few years ago when I was on the way to the bin to dispose of an old gingerbread house that my daughter had made,” says food writer Nisha Katona.
“It was in late January and I was preparing a dramatic lamb raan, with a hearty punch of warming spice. In a moment of inspiration, I tipped the gingerbread house, icing and all, into the marinade for the lamb and blitzed it all up to a biscuity, soul-warming slather, which was then rubbed all over the lamb leg before roasting. The roasted outcome was fragrant, warming and delicious. This pared-down version is a 30-minute way of recreating that brown sugar-spiced hit of happiness.”
Gingerbread lamb steaks
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 cube frozen crushed garlic or 3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cube frozen crushed ginger or 1 thumb-sized pieces fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 x 200g/7oz lamb rump steaks
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
4 ginger biscuits
1. Preheat the grill/broiler to high and line a grill pan with foil.
2. Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan/skillet over a medium heat, then add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, for six to eight minutes, until the onions are soft and golden.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a separate frying pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb steaks and cook for two to three minutes on each side, until browned. Transfer the lamb steaks to the rack of a grill pan while you prepare the topping.
4. Add the garam masala, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, salt and sugar to the pan with the onions and cook, stirring continuously, for one minute. Tip the spiced onions into the bowl of a food processor and crumble in the ginger biscuits. Process the biscuit and onion mixture to a thick, smooth paste, then divide the mixture between the lamb steaks and spread out in an even layer.
5. Grill/broil the steaks for four to five minutes, until the lamb is bubbling and the paste has formed a golden crust. Serve hot.
‘30 Minute Mowgli’ by Nisha Katona (published by Nourish Books, £25; photography by Yuki Sugiura), available now.