12.014 Battle: Lamb


19 (Tue) January 2021

Grilled Lamb Chops in Massaman Sauce with Saffron-Curry Rice and Potatoes


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

Several years back –  one month shy of a decade, oh my god – Number One Fan LJY and I had engaged in a virtual culinary exchange to make dishes and share photos, which were presented on GMTD.  The first was chicken parmesan (2.050 Chicken Parmigiana with Black Olives and Spaghetti), followed by grilled steak (see 2.056 Grilled Sake Steak with Curry-Corn Rice), and finally shrimp scampi (2.063 Linguine con Spinaci in Creamy Scampi Sauce with Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, and Shrimp).  Though fun, we just stopped doing it, for no particular reason.

For no particular reason, we are now resuming the exchange.


Grilled Lamb Chops in Massaman Sauce with Saffron-Curry Rice and Potatoes

For my entry, I employed a technique that I’ve recently developed to pan-grill lamb chops then finish them off in curry sauce (see 11.364 Grilled Lamb Chops in Butter Curry Sauce), this time using a kit for Thai massaman curry by Blue Elephant.

Seasoned with Lebanese kofta spice.
Seared in a grill pan to develop char.
Tossed and braised in the curry for a few minutes to make the meat absorb the sauce and cook all the way through.

Massaman is a Thai dish.  It’s a rich, brown curry, typically served with meat (e.g., chicken) and potatoes.  Influenced by Malay/Indian cuisines, as evident in the use of heavier, darker spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, etc., which are otherwise not commonly used in Thai cuisine (by comparison, green/yellow/red Thai curries are based on lighter aromatics, such as chilies, cilantro, galangal, lemongrass, etc.).  The term is thought to derive from an old Persian word “mosalman = Muslim” in reference to Muslim traders from South Asia who brought the spices with them to Thailand, possibly during the 17th century.  In 2011, CNNGo ranked massaman as #1 of The World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods.                                          

Trimmed the round edges of the potato to get perfect cubes, which were braised in the curry, set aside, and served alongside the rice in the final plating.                     
Seasoned the jasmine rice with saffron and garam masala.



Pan Grilled Lamb Chops Marinated with Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil, Thyme, Rosemary

“lamb chops”
“marinated with salt, pepper, olive oil, thyme, rosemary”
“pan grilled”



On my end, I was aggressive, seeking to develop a bold dish with intense flavors.  The lamb was tender and succulent.  The spicy curry, enhanced by the char flavor, paired nicely with the meat (though not as good as the butter chicken curry).  The yogurt and cilantro added welcome touches of brightness.  With the potatoes and rice, the dish became a comprehensive meal.

On the LJY side, the approach was minimalist, allowing the natural flavors of the meat to shine.   She added homemade chimichurri when the initial seasonings seemed a bit insufficient.  Rather than a meal per se, the chops could constitute a simple yet hearty appetizer, easily paired with other dishes.  In her own summation: “Overall, delicious!”

To use a sandwich analogy, my dish seems like an in-your-face meatball sub, while LJY’s is like an elegant BLT.

By coincidence, we both used frenched lamb chops, which in retrospect appears kinda lazy.  In my defense, this is the only way that lamb is sold here.

My instinct has always been to go heavy with lamb, but I am intrigued by LJY’s choice of zesty, which I will definitely try myself next time.

That was awesome!

Looking forward to BATTLE: DUCK.

(See also FOODS.)

(See also PLACES.)

12 thoughts on “12.014 Battle: Lamb

  1. This was fun to do again! Currently researching interesting ways to cook duck breasts, which I have never cooked before. Your lamb curry looks great!

  2. I’m hereby inviting myself to the duck cooking challenge! One of the recipes in the North Korean cookbook Ki sent me calls for mallard, so I will try that.

    I have obviously never cooked mallard, but also never a domesticated duck. I actually called a shop in one of the market halls here in Stockholm that sells bird and game meat, and they do sell mallard.

    I’m thinking I might buy both a mallard and a duck and split the meat up so I can cook:
    1) Mallard according to the recipe
    2) Duck according to the recipe
    3) Both types of meat according to some “normal” recipe, to get a feel what they would “normally” taste like

    (I might scale that down to just 1) or 1)+2) if I don’t have the time, energy for everything at the same time).

    When I’m in the market hall I will also try to buy pork/pig blood, to be able to make “blodpudding” (Blood pudding). It’s a traditional Swedish dish I have wanted to make for a long time but I have not gotten hold of the blood. Blodpudding is actually pretty popular in Sweden, especially among students, since it’s one of the cheapest things you can buy (factory made) in the store. My parents refuse to eat it since they have bad memories eating it too often during their university years.. I have never met anyone who have actually made it themselves from scratch.

    1. I was going to invite you anyway, so welcome!

      in the south, at least these days, duck is kind of a fringe item. i can only think of a few specialty restaurants that make it, almost always just boiled like chicken baeksuk.

      and certainly i don’t know if they even have different breeds of ducks for food. in the naver dictionary, 집오리 (house duck) seems to be a domesticated duck, 물오리 (water duck) is any wild duck, and 청둥오리 is specifically a mallard.

      See prior comments at https://givemethisday.com/2021/01/25/12-020-pasta-and-salmon-pudding/comment-page-1/#comment-8580

      duck is sold in my local market, though I have no idea who buys and what they do with it. so I’m up for the challenge.

      For your proposals, I like (3), because I had never even imagined the possibility of eating mallard, so it’d be interesting to see if they taste different.

      As for blood pudding, oh boy that’s another fringe thing in Korea, but i think we could do it after duck?

      1. I will see what option out of 1-3) I end up choosing. Regarding the sources of protein in the book, it seems to have a lot of wild animals. I just looked at a recipe for rabbit (토끼). I would guess you don’t buy/eat rabbit meat in the south nowadays too?
        Still, I can only recall eating rabbit once in my life (in Bulgaria) so I would still want to taste it again.

        Is there even a traditional dish made out of blood in Korea? From my understanding the Swedish dish was made out of the need to make use of all parts of the pig..

  3. My sense is that “Traditional North Korean Cuisine,” as it is understood these days in South Korea, is like a time capsule or a screen shot of the food before DPRK locked its borders, at which point the entire culture took a divergent course, and became something entirely warped, which we’re just now starting to see glimpses of. so-called Pyeonyang-style mul naeng myeon, as we’ve discussed, is how it used to be made in the North, but now they don’t, as your personal experiences in DPRK have shown, also my experiences at North Korean restaurants in Bejing and Cambodia.

    My mother tells me that people across Korea back in the 1950s used to eat duck and rabbit, though never really as a mainstream practice, just what farmers would catch in their fields. Maybe they still do in the North.

    I’ve had rabbit in France.

    Blood is most commonly consumed as sundae (blood sausage), which you know quite well.

    But also in soups:



    I’ve never seen it sold as a raw ingredient, so the initial challenge will be to find a source.

    1. Yes, it makes sense that the food would evolve into something different during 70+ years of isolation and division.
      There’s a parallell in Germany with East Prussian cuisine. East Prussia being a former province/state of Germany which ceased to exit after World War 2, its entire territory being annexed by Poland and the Soviet union, it’s people being expelled/fleeing west. You can still eat dishes from it today at German restaurants serving traditional dishes, such as Königsberger klöpse (Königsberg meatballs).

      Yes how could I have forgotten about sundae!

    2. Speaking of the North Korean restaurants abroad, I remember vividly the North korean waitress at one of the spots in Beijing looking at me like im an idiot and cutting up the naengmyeon with scissors for me, when I tried to eat them with just the chopsticks (since I remembered you telling me that’s the “traditional way” of eating them).

      1. was beijing before or after we went to eat naeng myeon in seoul? remember that hand-made pyeongyang-style noodles have more buckwheat and less starch, so they’re not very chewy, so they don’t need scissors. but cheap noodles are very chewy and must be cut.

      2. As far as I remember, these noodles were actually the cheap variety, so the waitress probably did the right thing to force me to cut them… I also remember the place being kinda creepy. Me and my then girlfriend were to only guests in the main hall. There was also at least one group/family there as well but they had a private room…

  4. Ummmm blood pudding?!?! I might have to sit that one out. Not sure if I can even get rabbit here …

    1. we’re not going to do rabbit. that was just a side bar.

      you can do something with sundae, as long as it’s the regular kind with blood.

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