“The small investment in time you make to blend the perfect combo for the gunpowder spice paste is the key to success here. That contrast you get between the outer, dark, gnarly, spicy crust and the blushing, sweet, juicy meat inside is just incredible. Served alongside a feast of rice and outrageous pineapple salsa, it’s a double YUM! ”
Start by making the gunpowder spice paste – blitz the dried chillies, spices and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper in a spice grinder or blender until you have a powder. Peel and add the garlic, pour in the vinegar and vegetable oil, then blitz to a paste.
Trim the excess fat from the lamb, then lightly slash the flesh all over with a sharp knife. Rub the spice paste all over, really getting into all the nooks and crannies, then marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6 and a griddle pan to high (or you can use the barbecue for added smokiness).
Sear the lamb for 20 minutes on the griddle, turning regularly to build up a gnarly crust, then place in a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and pop into the oven for a further 20 minutes – these timings are for blushing pink, but feel free to adjust to your liking. Remove to a board to rest.
Meanwhile, make the accompaniments. For the dressing, pick most of the mint leaves into a pestle and mortar, add a pinch of salt and bash to a paste. Muddle in the lime juice and yoghurt, then season to taste with black pepper.
For the salsa, peel the pineapple and onion, then cut into wedges (removing the pineapple core). Blacken in a dry frying pan on a high heat, remove to a board, chop into rough 2cm chunks and scrape into a bowl.
Squeeze over the lime juice, then finely chop and add the coriander stalks (reserving the leaves). Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and season to perfection.
For the coconut rice, place a 24cm non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the mustard seeds. Pour in 2 mugs of rice and 3 mugs of boiling water and season with a pinch of salt. Halve the chillies lengthways and add to the pan with the creamed coconut.
Bring to the boil, give it a stir, then cover and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat, followed by 5 minutes on a high heat – you’re aiming for a crispy bottom. Once cooked, carefully turn out, just like a sandcastle.
Finely slice the remaining chilli(es), then scatter over the lamb with the reserved coriander and mint leaves. Take everything to the table, slice up the lamb and let everyone get stuck in. Delicious served with a seasonal salad.