Lamb cutlets spiced with fennel (shahi chaap amber)

Preparation time
less than 30 mins
Cooking time
10 to 30 mins
Serves 4-6

This popular mutton chop recipe is made with lamb cutlets, first simmered in aromatic milk before being covered in a light spice batter and fried.

By Rick Stein

From Rick Stein's India


For the lamb

  • 12 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised with a rolling pin
  • 12 cloves
  • 8cm/3¾in piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 Indian bay leaves
  • 1½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1.5 litres/2½ pints full-fat milk
  • 1kg/2lb 4oz lamb cutlets (from a rack of lamb)
  • 75ml/2½fl oz vegetable oil

For the batter

  • 250g/9oz plain flour
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (seeds from 30 green pods)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped, with seeds
  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • pinch chat masala, to finish


  1. Put the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, bay leaves, black peppercorns and ginger into a deep, sturdy pan and add the milk and 500ml/18fl oz of water. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the lamb cutlets and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Leave to cool in the liquid (the lamb should still be pink in the middle at this stage).

  2. For the batter, sift together the flour and cornflour in a bowl, then stir in the black pepper, fennel, ginger, cardamom and salt, followed by the chillies. Lightly beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until just frothy and then whisk them into the dry ingredients.

  3. Strain the milk and remove the lamb cutlets from the pan. Add enough of the cool milky stock to make a thin batter the consistency of single cream.

  4. Add the cooled cutlets to the batter and turn to coat evenly. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Take a few cutlets from the batter, add to the pan (don’t overcrowd it) and fry for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden-brown. Keep these warm while you cook the rest.

  5. Sprinkle with chat masala, and serve hot.

scroll to top