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Lamb Ribs With Nigella and Cumin Seeds

by . Featured in SIMPLY NIGELLA
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Introduction

Stop what you’re doing: I bring you important news. Lamb ribs, almost unknown in Britain, are one of the most delicious ways of eating lamb, and certainly the least expensive. Not that they taste bargain-basement: everyone who’s eaten these has said they’re the best spare ribs they’ve ever had.

I like to keep the flavour of the meat to the fore, so don’t coat them in a glaze, but give them the scantest covering before they go into the oven. And while it might seem unnecessary to use oil, it does help the spices to stick and the ribs to crisp; anyway, so much of the fat drips off into the pan under the rack. Even so, they are, without question, a fatty cut, but for those of us who love the flavour and the lip-smacking stickiness that this gives, it’s a bonus, not a warning. If you’re a lean-cut kind of a person, these are not for you. Commiserations.

Stop what you’re doing: I bring you important news. Lamb ribs, almost unknown in Britain, are one of the most delicious ways of eating lamb, and certainly the least expensive. Not that they taste bargain-basement: everyone who’s eaten these has said they’re the best spare ribs they’ve ever had.

I like to keep the flavour of the meat to the fore, so don’t coat them in a glaze, but give them the scantest covering before they go into the oven. And while it might seem unnecessary to use oil, it does help the spices to stick and the ribs to crisp; anyway, so much of the fat drips off into the pan under the rack. Even so, they are, without question, a fatty cut, but for those of us who love the flavour and the lip-smacking stickiness that this gives, it’s a bonus, not a warning. If you’re a lean-cut kind of a person, these are not for you. Commiserations.

Lamb Ribs With Nigella and Cumin Seeds
Photo by Keiko Oikawa

Ingredients

Serves: 6-10 (depending on how you eat them)

Metric Cups
  • 4 teaspoons nigella seeds
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons regular olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled and finely grated, or minced)
  • 24 lamb ribs (cut from 3 lamb breasts, bones in)
  • 4 teaspoons nigella seeds
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons regular olive oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled and finely grated, or minced)
  • 24 lamb ribs (cut from 3 lamb breasts, bones in)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/gas mark 2/325ºF. Line a large roasting tin with foil and sit a rack on top. If you haven’t got a large enough tin (the one that came with my oven measures 45 x 38cm/half sheet size), then use 2 tins, and just swap them over in the oven halfway through cooking, and be prepared to add a further 10–15 minutes on to the roasting time.
  2. Get out a dish and add the nigella and cumin seeds, pour in the oil and soy and add the garlic. Stir to combine.
  3. Dip and schmoosh the ribs, one by one, in this mixture, so that they are lightly coated on both sides; you may think this scant amount won’t be enough for all the ribs, but it is – just – and you don’t want them wet, merely coloured by the liquid and with some seeds adhering to them.
  4. Arrange them on the rack above the lined baking tin and cook in the oven for 1½–2 hours (they can differ in size), or until the fat on the ribs is crisp and the meat tender.
  5. Arrange on a warmed platter and make sure you have a good supply of napkins to hand.
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/gas mark 2/325ºF. Line a large roasting tin with foil and sit a rack on top. If you haven’t got a large enough tin (the one that came with my oven measures 45 x 38cm/half sheet size), then use 2 tins, and just swap them over in the oven halfway through cooking, and be prepared to add a further 10–15 minutes on to the roasting time.
  2. Get out a dish and add the nigella and cumin seeds, pour in the oil and soy and add the garlic. Stir to combine.
  3. Dip and schmoosh the ribs, one by one, in this mixture, so that they are lightly coated on both sides; you may think this scant amount won’t be enough for all the ribs, but it is – just – and you don’t want them wet, merely coloured by the liquid and with some seeds adhering to them.
  4. Arrange them on the rack above the lined baking tin and cook in the oven for 1½–2 hours (they can differ in size), or until the fat on the ribs is crisp and the meat tender.
  5. Arrange on a warmed platter and make sure you have a good supply of napkins to hand.

Additional Information

STORE NOTE: Cool leftovers, then cover and refrigerate within 2 hours of making. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.

FREEZE NOTE: Cooled leftovers can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in fridge before using.

STORE NOTE: Cool leftovers, then cover and refrigerate within 2 hours of making. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.

FREEZE NOTE: Cooled leftovers can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in fridge before using.

Tell us what you think

What 5 Others have said

  • Just been to my butchers - they knew exactly what I meant by lamb ribs but they call them lamb fingers. Looking forward to cooking this for friends on Monday night.

    Posted by 1976Hale on 21st November 2015
  • These were fantastic and so easy to make. Thanks Nigella

    Posted by Caroline cobb tobias on 8th November 2015
  • Have just served these Lamb Ribs and been awarded 5 stars by my guests. Thank you Nigella brilliant recipe, love you.

    Posted by ph43 on 8th November 2015
  • I've just made them and they're amazing. Thanks Nigella

    Posted by Caroline cobb tobias on 6th November 2015
  • So delicious! My husband is devoted to ribbetjes, as they are known in SA, but didn't think anything could be as good as grilling them over a wood fire. These come really close! We had them as a main meal over stirfried vegetables, but this would be my choice of finger food for a party. So low-effort.

    Posted by Foodycat on 23rd October 2015
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