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Vadouvan Spiced BBQ Lamb Riblets with Tamarind BBQ Sauce, Pickled Peaches and Cucumber Raita

Photo: American Lamb Board

From: Executive chef Vernon Morales, Salt House, San Francisco. Yield: 8 servings.

8 lamb spareribs (Denver ribs)
8 oz. tamarind BBQ sauce
8 oz. vadouvan spice mix (recipe follows)
2 oz. kosher salt

Vadouvan Spice Mix:
16 oz. onion
16 oz. shallots
2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon, freshly ground
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds, freshly ground
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds, freshly ground
1 tsp. ras el hanout
½ tsp. allspice, freshly ground
½ tsp. cardamom, freshly ground
½ tsp. turmeric
¼ tsp. cloves, freshly ground
¼ tsp. white peppercorns, freshly ground
¼ tsp. black peppercorns, freshly ground
1/8 tsp. chili flakes
8 pasilla chilies
8 California chilies
8 bay leaves
8 curry leaves
pinch of nutmeg

Barbecue Sauce:
2 cups shallots, sliced
12 garlic cloves, sliced
4 cups ketchup
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes, drained (reserve juice)
10 oz. tamarind paste
2 oz. honey
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. ginger, grated
1 bay leaf
¼ cup Vadouvan Spice mix
1 tsp. kosher salt

Pickled Peaches:
2 whole peaches
4 cups water
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. coriander
½ tsp. clove
½ tsp. peppercorns

Cucumber Raita:
2 cups sheep’s milk yogurt
2 cups Persian or English cucumbers, sliced
½ cup radishes, sliced
1 garlic clove, grated

For lamb riblets: Generously brush lamb ribs with BBQ sauce, season with Vadouvan Spice Mix and salt; wrap in foil. Place ribs on a sheet pan; bake on middle rack of oven at 350°F for 1 to 1½ hours or until meat is tender and easily pulls off the bones. Cool and brush with BBQ sauce. Grill over charcoal to caramelize. Season with salt and Vadouvan spice mix.

For Vadouvan spice mix: Peel onion and shallots; slice thinly and dry in a frying pan until golden brown. Coarsely crush in a mortar and pestle. Heat a small, dry frying pan over medium heat. Add coriander, cumin, cinnamon, fenugreek, mustard, ras el hanout, allspice, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, peppercorns and chili flakes. Toast, swirling the pan occasionally until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; finely grind. Toast chilies; grind in a mortar and pestle. Combine with onion/shallot mixture and ground spices.

For BBQ sauce: Peel shallots and garlic; slice thinly. In saucepan warmed over medium heat, add shallots, cloves, ketchup, tomatoes, tomato juice, tamarind paste, honey, Worcestershire, ginger, bay leaf, Vadouvan spice mix and salt. Cook for 30 minutes on low heat.

For pickled peaches: Peel peaches, remove pits and cut into quarters. In a heat-proof container, add peaches. In a sauce pot, add water and vinegar. Add sugar, allspice, cinnamon, coriander, clove and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; pour over peaches and cool overnight.

For the cucumber raita: In a bowl, whisk yogurt until smooth. Add cucumbers, radishes and garlic, plus a little freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Stir; chill well until ready to serve. Serve with pickled peaches and cucumber raita.

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