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Guest Chef Recipe
Rakesh Nair

Rakesh Nair Recipe

Clove Smoked Loin of Lamb with Black Stone Flower Reduction, Masala Cashew Nuts:
Serves 4


Puff pastry
  • 2 lamb loins, 300-400 g each, fat and silver skin trimmed off
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200 g pak choi, cut into halves lengthwise
  • ½ tsp garlic, chopped
First marinade
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp salt
Second marinade
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
For smoking
  • 1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 piece lumpwood charcoal
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 l lamb stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 black cardamom pods
  • 8 cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 white onions, cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp rock moss (optional)
  • 1 dried lime, crushed
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
Masala cashew nuts
  • 50 g roasted and salted cashews, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp garlic, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • Pinch of chaat masala


Marinate the lamb with salt, red chilli powder and ginger garlic paste. Set aside for about 20 minutes. Mix all the ingredients for the second marinade then transfer to a small bowl. Smoke the meat and the second marinade by placing them in a deep metal dish and putting live charcoal in the centre in a small bowl. Gently blow the charcoal and place cloves on top of it. Drizzle over some clarified butter or ghee and quickly cover with a lid or tin foil, ensuring the smoke does not escape. Leave the meat covered until the charcoal dies.

To prepare the sauce, add half the whole spices to the lamb stock in a saucepan and simmer until the liquid reduces to half. Remove, strain and set aside.

Boil the onion and tomatoes with a little water until soft. Remove, allow to cool and blend to a smooth purée. Strain and set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan, add the remaining whole spices, rock moss, dry lime and fenugreek leaves, then stir until the flavours release. Add the ginger garlic paste followed by the powdered spices and cook for one minute. Add the stock and the purée and simmer until reduced slightly. Stir in the yoghurt and cook for a couple minutes. Remove from the heat then blend until smooth. Strain and keep hot.

For the masala cashew nuts, heat the oil, add chopped garlic and cumin and cook until crisp, then add the chopped peanuts, stir for roughly 30 seconds then add the rest of the spices and mix well. Remove from the heat, leave to cool and use as a garnish for the lamb saddle.

To cook the meat, heat the oil in a frying pan. Sear over medium heat for about two minutes then flip and cook another two minutes. Apply the second marinade over the meat and finish in an oven preheated to 180° C for four to five minutes.

In the same pan, heat remaining oil, add the chopped garlic and cook until golden. Add the pak choi halves, sprinkle over salt and cook for a couple minutes. Remove the meat from the oven and allow to rest for three to four minutes, before slicing evenly and placing on top of the sauce. Serve with the pak choi on the side and sprinkle with masala cashew nuts.

Chef’s tip - This dish is best served with pilau rice or masala sautéed potatoes and pickled root vegetables.

Born in the small coastal town of Varkala, Rakesh Nair has evolved as a chef throughout his 17-year culinary career, devising refined Indian cuisine, upholding the state’s complex and interesting flavours while adopting Western culinary techniques. Rakesh has been in The Cinnamon Club group since 2002, where he met renowned Indian Chef Vivek Singh, CEO of the group in Delhi, who asked him to join the team as Chef de partie. Rakesh worked his way through the ranks to his current role as Head Chef at The Cinnamon Club.

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