What’s cooking today: Tandoori-spiced mutton chops

What’s cooking today: Tandoori-spiced mutton chops
Tony Jackman’s tandoori-spiced mutton chops. I photographed them in a beautiful textured breakfast bowl by Mervyn Gers Ceramics. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Make your own tandoori spice mix for these mutton chops, which are marinated for hours and then braaied.

You need plenty of this tandoori spice mix for the marinade for these chops, so you could double this recipe and store the balance in an airtight jar for later use. Next time, mix the remainder with yoghurt and marinate chicken pieces in it (such as deboned thighs or chunks of lean breast meat), and skewer them for the braai. For now, though, we’re making this…


6 to 8 mutton loin or rib chops

1 cup full cream plain yoghurt

2 Tbsp coriander seeds

1 Tbsp cumin seeds

1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cardamom seeds

2 Tbsp red chilli flakes

1 tsp blades of mace (grind this before mixing)

1 Tbsp powdered ginger (or 1 tsp if also using fresh ginger)

2 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp nutmeg powder

½ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon (when ground)

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground black pepper


Toast the seeds (cumin, black mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, coriander) and the chilli flakes in a dry pan until they start to smoke.

Grind the toasted spices to a fine powder. 

Grind the mace until very fine.

Now combine all of the above including the ground ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper and garlic powder, in a food processor or whatever grinder you prefer, and grind together.

Stir the spices into the yoghurt, coat the mutton chops with them, and marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Braai above hot coals until juicy and tender, turning frequently. Give them a bit of time, as mutton needs slower cooking than lamb. DM

Tony Jackman is joint Galliova Food Writer of the Year 2023. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks


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