When I was researching my family food stories for my last book, ‘Ten Thousand Tongues: secrets of a layered kitchen,’ I encountered many funny and sweet tales. Within them, the ones I loved most were those of my maternal great grandparents. Their stories, particularly of my great grandmother, Ajji’s care of my great grandfather Ajja, are legend in our home.
Their love story was set in the rural west coast of India in the early 1900s. Separated in age by nearly 10 years, they cared for each other very deeply. Ajji was very young when they started their household together, and Ajja was very forgiving of her simple yet flavorful meals. She made a few things with finesse, but more often than not, she was a minimalist in their small kitchen, choosing to make dishes that were not only delicious but also prudent on their meager finances. Her coal roasted meat dish for my great grandfather was loved immensely where she cooked and roasted the meat over an open flame—I had to include that recipe in the companion cookbook to ‘Ten Thousand Tongues.’
This dish is not impossible to recreate in the present-day kitchen and one day, I came up with an even simpler version, whose flavor is enhanced with dried key-lime pinwheels! So when the urge strikes for a quick fix, indulge in this easy way to make lamb chops. They are a great addition to your summer grilling choices, too! Pair with Schubert Pinot Noir Selection.
Recipe: Smoky Lamb Chops with Dried Key Lime Pinwheels
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 lbs goat or lamb chops
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp salt
3-5 salted dried key lime pinwheels (optional, recipe follows), AND/OR
½ cup dry white wine of choice
Fresh cilantro for garnish, optional
Pre-Prep: Salted Dried Key Lime Pinwheels
Slice one key lime into thin slices. Liberally dust with salt and place on an oven safe wire-rack with a cookie sheet underneath. Slowly dry the slices in a warm oven at 130’F for 3 hours or more until the edges are dried. Cool until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 400’F. Combine the ingredients except the key lime pinwheels, white wine and cilantro in a large glass bowl. Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Place the lamb chops in a cast iron skillet. Place a few key lime pinwheels on each meat piece. Pour the remaining marinade and juices to coat the meat pieces. Add the wine to the pan and cook to desired done-ness. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot.
Nandita Godbole is an Atlanta-based freelancing food writer and an indie author of several cookbooks, whose readers reside in more than 30-countries globally. She most often writes about two of her favorite things: simple, flavorful, and holistic Indian food, and about family: the joys and complexities of delicate personal relationships. In the past 15 years, through her work, she shares the diverse culinary riches of India to uncover and rediscover intricate and unique layers of culture and identity. Nandita grew up in Bombay, in the city before it became Mumbai, India, which makes her easily nostalgic. Somewhere between her memories of her old home, her new home and kitchen, and her musings, she plays the roles of mom, chauffeur, chief do-it-all-er, and the absentminded gardener.