Slow roast lamb with ginger beer – an Indian feast

You have probably seen Sainsbury’s ‘little twists’ campaign which promotes adding a bit of something different to a dish whether that is coconut in chilli or horseradish in your mac ‘n’ cheese.

Here I’ve given one of their latest recipes a go, roast lamb with ginger beer and I have added my twists too – a few extra spices, an overnight marinade and slow and low cooking.

This is what cooking is all about whether you are a beginner or a more experienced cook, be brave and experiment. This is what in my view adds to the creativity and excitement of cooking.

Cooking the lamb in ginger beer sounded a bit maverick (maybe that’s why it appealed), I have heard of cooking ham in Coca Cola before, so i figured this would work similarly and help to tenderise the meat.

My roast lamb was to be the centrepiece of an Indian-style Sunday dinner, served with daal, pilau rice and rotis. This idea was influenced by the lamb 4 ways article in a recent Guardian Cook supplement. I must admit that I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to recipes, always on the lookout for ideas and ways to try different combinations of ingredients or to slightly tweak a favourite dish.

Ginger is one of my favourite spices,  with its warming, subtle heat it works so well in lots of savoury and sweet recipes. I could see that it would work well with rich lamb to balance twith the earthy lentils and rice. The long cooking reduced the ginger beer down to a deliciously sweet sticky sauce. So all in all it was a success, pretty easy to prepare, loads of flavour and the other bonus was I had leftovers for my tea the next day.

Roast lamb with ginger beer

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
25ml red wine vinegar

For roasting

1.2kg shoulder of lamb
1 onion, cut into wedges
2 carrots, cut into chunks
250ml no-added-sugar fiery ginger beer
250ml chicken stock, made with 1 chicken stock cube


The night before, make up the marinade using the spices. Put the lamb on a board and make small slits all over the joint. Press in some of the sliced garlic and ginger. Rub the spice marinade all over the joint and drizzle over the oil. Cover and refrigerate.

When you are ready to cook, get the meat to room temperature and pre-heat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 5.

Put the onion wedges and carrots in a large roasting tin. Sit the lamb on top and pour in the ginger beer and stock. Cover with foil and roast in the oven low and slow for 6 hours, until the meat is tender. Baste the meat a couple of times during cooking and add a little more ginger beer if more liquid is needed.

Remove the lamb from the tin, slice the meat from the bone and place in the meat juices. Leave to rest for 20 minutes in the oven and the lamb will absorb the flavours from the sweet reduced stock and ginger beer.

I added the onion and carrots to my daal for extra seasoning, then blended the lentils, leaving them with some texture.

Lamb cooked in ginger beer

Serve with the masala sauce, daal, pilau rice and rotis.

Lamb, rice and roti