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Massaman-Marinated Roasted Leg of Lamb



This dish demonstrates one of the many, many non-curry ways massaman curry paste can be used. It also shows how well lamb and the herbs and spices found in massaman curry paste go together. There seems to be something in that combination, plus the addition of prepared tamarind pulp, that ameliorates the gaminess associated with lamb which prevents some people (me excluded) from enjoying this delicious meat.

Although lamb, in my opinion, makes for one of the most perfect meats for massaman curry, marinating a large hunk of lamb with curry paste and roasting it western-style like this isn’t exactly a typical Thai preparation. Then again, we’re not going for a typical Thai dish here; we’re simply going for something delicious.

Seriously, lady, who taught you how to truss a leg of lamb?

I served this at a party a while back. The roasted lamb was accompanied by coconut rice with fresh chives and a salad of fresh radishes with Sriracha-buttermilk dressing. Also found on the table was a bowl of Nam Pla Prik.

To the fearful cook’s delight, not a crumb was left.

Massaman-Marinated Roasted Leg of Lamb
(Serves 10)
Printable Version


3.5 lbs boneless leg of lamb, butterflied
2 ounces massaman curry paste
2 tablespoons prepared tamarind pulp
1/2 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cardamom

  • In a large bowl, mix everything together. Make sure the marinade goes into all the nooks and crannies of the lamb. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours up to overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Truss the leg of lamb with kitchen strings. Place it in a roasting pan.
  • Bake the lamb, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Flip it over and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Take the lamb’s internal temperature with a probing thermometer. The middle part of the lamb should be around 120°F to 125°F (49°C to 52°C) for rare, 130°F to 140°F (55°C to 60°C) for medium rare, 145°F to 150°F (63°C to 66°C) for medium, and 155°F to 165°F (68°C to 74°C) for well done.
  • Once the desired doneness is achieved, take the lamb out of the oven. Cover it with a piece of aluminum foil, and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Carve and serve along with pan juices.
  • 9 Responses to Massaman-Marinated Roasted Leg of Lamb

    1. Ravenous Couple March 30, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

      absolutely gorgeous!! really love the medi-thai combinations.

    2. Angry Asian April 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      is there any other meat that this marinade would go with? like rabbit?

      i’ve never cooked lamb before but for some reason, i’ve made rabbit a few times. i’m over that fear but for some reason, lamb scares me even tho i love ordering it when out.

    3. Leela April 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

      AA – Hmm… I’ve never cooked rabbit this way before. Somebody was suggesting pork shoulder/butt and that would work very, ver well. Maybe a plump whole chicken.

      Leg of lamb is actually one of the easiest cuts to work with. So forgiving. Hard to mess it up even if you tried.

    4. dp April 3, 2011 at 7:10 am #

      I agree about lamb in massaman curry. I first had it with lamb in San Francisco a few years back and since then always use lamb. Beef is a distant second.

    5. Christine April 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

      Looks absolutely gorgeous. Would never have thought of pairing massaman with lamb for a roast!

    6. Anonymous December 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      Can I do this with bone-in leg of lamb?

    7. Admin December 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

      Anon – I’ve never done it, but I don’t see why not. You may have to make a few slits on the lamb flesh to allow the marinade to get into it more. Other than that, I guess the only difference would be the cooking time.

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