Spiced cannon of salt marsh lamb with chicken liver masala and asparagus and spinach porial

Lamb that grazes in coastal estuaries is highly prized in France and increasingly in the UK. Its tender flavour lends itself well to Indian spices as Cyrus Todiwala demonstrates.


For the spiced cannon of lamb
For the chicken liver masala
For the asparagus and spinach porial
To serve

Preparation method

  1. For the spiced cannon of lamb, place the black pepper, cumin seeds, star anise and lime juice into a pestle and mortar and crush to combine.

  2. Spread the marinade over the lamb and place in the fridge to marinate for at least six hours, preferably overnight.

  3. Heat a heavy-based pan until hot, add the oil and fry the cannon well, allowing it to brown well on each side before turning over - this process takes about a minute, or just a bit less, on each of the four sides.

  4. Sprinkle sea salt to taste over the lamb and remove it from the pan. Set on a rack if possible and allow the meat to rest for 1-2 minutes before serving.

  5. For the chicken liver masala, chop the chicken livers into tiny pieces, then place in a bowl with the minced ginger and garlic, the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, fresh chilli and lime juice.

  6. Heat a heavy-based pan until very hot, add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the chicken livers and sauté them on a high heat, separating and stirring to break up the pieces – for about one minute.

  7. As soon as they firm up, add the onion and tomatoes and stir to mix well. Allow to settle for a while without stirring to let the pan reheat again. Stir once more again, then add salt, the chopped coriander and mint, check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat.

  8. For the asparagus and spinach porial, drain the soaked split yellow peas and wash them in a metal strainer under cold water, allowing them to drain well. Heat a thick, heavy-based frying pan until very hot, add the oil and heat until nearly smoking, or just as a haze forms.

  9. Reduce the heat, then add the mustard seeds and cover lightly with a lid until the crackling reduces.

  10. Immediately add the cumin seeds and within 5-6 seconds, add the split yellow peas and sauté well until they stop sticking at the bottom of the pan.

  11. Add the grated coconut and shredded curry leaves and scrape the pan well with a wooden spoon until the coconut has a toasted aroma.

  12. Add the asparagus pieces and lightly fry for a minute or so, add the shredded spinach, toss for a few more seconds until wilted, season with sea salt and remove the pan from the heat.

  13. To serve, spoon the chicken livers onto each plate. Carve the lamb into slices and place on top of the chicken livers, pile the asparagus alongside. Finish with the buttered roll and fried egg.

Overnight preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4

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