Make Natasha MacAller's roast lamb with turmeric and cumin

The intense flavour of slow-roast lamb gets lifted by earthy, aromatic turmeric and cumin

Roast lamb with turmeric and cumin

Serves 4

Preparation time 10 mins

Cooking time 270 mins

This slow-roasted recipe is a spice powerhouse with cumin, turmeric and garlic. Both turmeric and cumin are known for their ability to help naturally regulate blood sugar levels – especially important for diabetics. Their distinct, earthy tones make them a welcome addition to many dishes, and this recipe lets their flavour melt into an onion-carrot bed that can be served on the side, offsetting the rich lamb and tart quince.


  • 3 large onions (350g), unpeeled, sliced into rounds
  • 3 large carrots (225g), peeled and cut into 5cm rounds
  • 3kg lamb shoulder, bone in, lightly trimmed of fat
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  •  3 bay leaves, torn
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 3 quince (or tart, firm apples), peeled, cored and cut into sixths
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F/gas mark 3). Scatter the onion and carrot rounds on the bottom of an oiled roasting pan. Trim and lightly score the fat on the lamb shoulder and place on top of the bed of vegetables.
  2. Dry-toast the coriander, cumin, peppercorns and cardamom in a frying pan until the aromas are released, then crush with a mortar and pestle. Add the bay leaves, turmeric, garlic, salt and oil to the mortar and crush to a paste.
  3. Massage this paste all over the lamb. Scatter with the thyme sprigs and tuck the quince pieces all around the meat. Sprinkle the sugar and vinegar over the top, then pour 100ml of water into the side of the roasting pan.
  4. Tightly cover the roasting pan with thick foil and slow-roast for 4 hours.
  5. Raise the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Remove the foil, skim off the fat and add more water if needed.
  6. Baste the lamb then return it, uncovered, to the oven. Cook the meat for a further 35 minutes or until it's tender.

Taken from Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller. Published by Jacqui Small (£25)