Coriander-Crusted Lamb Chops

Coriander-Crusted Lamb Chops by
This is going to sound weird, but as long as I have garlic, coriander roots/stems, and whole white peppercorns (aka the Thai marinade ‘trinity’) around, I feel safe. This combination of aromatics along with other pantry staples, such as fish sauce, saw me through my student days when my food budget was — I verified this — smaller than that of my landlord’s dog. I feel that if I had to go back to living cheaply like I did at that time, I would be able to manage. It would, of course, be tough, but I know that I could make any inexpensive cuts of meat from the supermarket delicious as long as I have these ingredients.

A less extreme and stressful case would be when I have to create an impromptu meal for company in minutes. This happened today, actually. And I did okay — I think.

Instead of the usual peppercorns, I used coarsely cracked whole coriander seeds to mimic the scent of a Thai meat dish nuea sawan (“heavenly beef”). I marinated the lamb chops for 15 minutes and got my coconut rice started. (The flavors of coconut and coriander seeds go so well together.) I crusted the lamb chops with coriander seeds and seared them in a skillet. By the time the lamb chops were cooked to medium, the rice was done. It took me 35 minutes from the time I took the lamb chops out the fridge to the time lunch was served. If I had been more prepared, I would have made some green papaya salad to serve on the side. But since I wasn’t, the side vegetable was simple steamed carrots. No complaints so far …

5.0 from 1 reviews
Coriander-Crusted Lamb Chops
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 4
  • 2 pounds center-cut lamb chops, preferably no more than 1-inch thick
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cilantro root or 4 cilantro stems, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (or honey or brown sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
  • 5-6 dried red bird's eye chilies or arbol chiles, optional
  1. Prick the lamb chops all over with a fork; put in a bowl.
  2. Add the garlic, cilantro root, fish sauce, and palm sugar to the lamb; mix well. Let the lamb marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes up to overnight.
  3. Put the vegetable oil to a large skillet set over medium heat.
  4. Sprinkle the cracked coriander seeds all over both sides of the lamb chops; press them in tightly.
  5. Fry the lamb chops until golden brown on one side; flip and brown the other side (throw the chilies in there at this point, if you use them). If you like your lamb medium, a total of 15 minutes of cooking on both side should suffice.

5 Responses to Coriander-Crusted Lamb Chops

  1. Mike 4X-O May 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Sounds great for end of new season English Lamb (the marinade might overcome the new season lamb out about now) and will certainly try this and also might try this by substituting anchovies (in oil or salted) for the fish sauce to enhance the crust…

    Will rate when I try it, but it sounds cracking!

  2. Gina May 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Yum. This sounds like a more Asian version of what my Greek mother-in-law used to make all the time. She marinated the lamb chops in anchovy oil and honey and grilled them.

  3. Josh May 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    @Gina: We must be related. My grandmother did the same thing. Chopped up anchovies, lots of olive oil and honey.

    Leela, have you made this with jaggery?

  4. Ken May 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Ha! That’s a new benchmark for student poverty – a budget “smaller than my landlord’s dog.” Although I’ve used traditional, often sweet barbecue marinades on beef and chicken I’ve never thought about using anything with sugar on lamb. Sounds interesting, especially since we tend to have at least as much cilantro as parsley in our fridge. Ken

  5. Anna Marie May 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    This was fantastic! I used it on some center cut pork chops and we grilled them. So very great. Thank you. This one will be kept and used often. We are going to try them on chicken next!