The Royal Indian Raan

The coming Christmas is now so under threat, in so many countries and from so many angles. In the Netherlands things look grim with the latest rule that within a 24 hour period only 2 people can be invited into a household. The rest is in lockdowns but sport is allowed to go on but without spectators or hand- touching balls. Three days during Christmas and New Year the lockdown is somewhat relaxed so people can have family and friends for the traditional Christmas period. Their health minister took this step to prevent even worse waves of the Omicron Covid infections to overwhelm their health systems in two or three weeks time. Angst is now king in The Netherlands and many other countries.

We in Australia have to remain stoic and with steely determination battle the coming days as if all is still well and that the newest Covid ‘the Omicron’ will stay away from those that have cocooned themselves within the vapors of vaccine concoctions, wearing tight fitting masks, received boosters, have water tight iPhone international proof of vaccinations, and so much more. It’s all so nervous and nail-biting stuff. But we stay strong and have achieved 94% double vaccination. The envy of the world. But, we shall see!

Australia is now starting their own mRNA manufacturing of serums and vaccinations able to produce 100 million doses each year starting hopefully in 2024. It does not seem very optimistic that the Covid will be conquered naturally through herd immunity, combined with dual vaccinations and top up boosters. It looks as if the towel has been thrown in and that the government is slowly preparing us that variations of Covids will be the norm, popping up ad infinitum and that we better prepare ourselves, put up with acres and miles of TV shows bizarrely and perversely viewing needles going into arms.

Being the optimist I thought that I will again share you my ideas for a beautiful Christmas dinner. It does require some time to get all the ingredients but the cooking itself is done in the oven, so no sweat.

The Royal Raan.

Compliments SBS

It really is my favourite Christmas dish. It can’t be hurried and the cooking has to be slow. The marinating of the leg of mutton or lamb is best done over two nights instead of just one. In the fridge of course. (Not outside in the sun) Also important is to allow the spices and yoghurt to penetrate the meat by making cuts into the raw meat.


  • 1 x 2.5 kgleg of lamb
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 1large pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tbspground almonds
  • 1 tbsphoney, warmed
  • 250 ml(1 cup) Greek style yogurt
  • 60 ml(¼ cup) ghee
  • 2cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 8cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 tspcloves
  • 35 g(¼ cup) slivered almonds


  • 3cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tspsalt
  • 1 tbspchopped ginger
  • 3 tspground cumin
  • 1½ tspgaram masala
  • ½ tspeach chilli powder and turmeric
  • 2 tbsplemon juice
  • 1 tbspvegetable oil

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 20 minutes

Marinating time 8 hours

You will need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

Trim all fat and silver skin from the lamb. Using a small sharp knife, make deep incisions all over the lamb. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small food processor and process, scraping down the sides occasionally, until a coarse paste forms. Rub the paste all over the lamb, pushing it into the incisions as you go. Season the lamb with ground pepper. Place lamb in a non-reactive dish. In a bowl, stir together the saffron, ground almonds, honey and yoghurt and pour over the lamb. Turn the lamb to coat in the yoghurt mixture then cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Transfer the lamb to a roasting dish large enough to fit it snugly and spoon the yoghurt mixture over it. Heat the ghee in a small frying pan over medium, add the whole spices and cook, tossing the pan, for 2 minutes or until spices are fragrant. Pour the mixture over the lamb, scatter over the slivered almonds, then cover the dish loosely with foil. Roast lamb for 2-2½ hours, or until juices are still running a little pink, and adding a few tablespoons of water to the dish occasionally to stop the yoghurt mixture catching around the edges. Remove the lamb from the oven and rest for 20 minutes then serve, carved in thick slices. Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.

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22 Responses to “The Royal Indian Raan”

  1. catterel Says:

    That does sound delicious – and a labour of love. Hope you get to make and share it with your loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. leggypeggy Says:

    Looks like a great recipe. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. auntyuta Says:

    Thanks for telling us about these Christmas preparations, Gerard. Looks like you kept this recipe over many years and can still look up every detail of it how to make this wonderful dish! 🙂

    It is good, when these sort of cooking traditions for special occasions, for instance for what to serve for some lovely Christmas gatherings, can stay in the family! 🙂

    Our family has a nut cake recipe that has been handed down from previous generations. Peter was an expert in baking this cake! 🙂

    What is happening in Europe right now with the spread of the Omicron Variant, does not look good at all. Especially Holland’s health care system seems to be already drastically overwhelmed. And this before Christmas! Very sad. And that it is winter there, does not help. It is better, when people can stay more outside. The new variant seems to spread extremely fast when too many people are inside in overcrowded building! That we have summer right now, is probably an advantage! 🙂

    May all your family enjoy very much your labour of love cooking for this Christmas! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, there is a nervous tension in the air. As I was driving yesterday a woman shouted at me with her contorted face looking angry and for the life of me I could not figure out, why?
      I was on my side of the road driving slowly and even smiling a bit. It occurred to me later on that she might have been on her mobile phone while driving and the anger was for the person on the other line.

      You too, Uta . Have a nice Christmas with your large extended family.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Robert Parker Says:

    Yes, Yum! Sounds like a great meal to celebrate the new year. I’m going to experiment a lot more with marinating this year, so this fits perfectly in the plan. Season’s & well-seasoned greetings, and best wishes for the new year! RPT

    Liked by 1 person

  5. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Thank you for the recipe, Gerard! Looks and sounds yummy! 🙂
    We have some passed-down Christmas foods/recipes and traditions we do every year! Always look forward to these!
    Happy Christmas to you and your family! May this holiday season be seasoned perfectly! 😉 😀
    🔔🎉🎅🎁🎄 ⛪🎶🙏🌟

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, one tradition in my family was my dad making apple balls. Sliced apple dipped in batter and cooked in oil and then rolled in caster sugar with a bit of cinnamon. They were fantastic.

      It’s about the only time my dad took to cooking.

      Happy Christmas to you and family and a bone with ribbon for Cooper.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Hi Gez.

    Your recipe looks delicious but my chances of savouring the cooked lamb are n unless I come over to your place.

    As you might recall, I come from a short line of kitchen disaster perpetrators.

    I think if I added up all the time I spend cooking in a year, it would involve less preparation. Which is why I can be found eating my way through the vegetable patch, cutting out the middleman (aka the cook). It’s not paddock to plate at our place, it’s paddock to large intestine 😊.

    By way of contrast, FM seems to cook like magic. She can peer into a pantry or fridge that looks empty to me … and then she whips up gourmet food.

    Sadly we live next door to a family of Greeks, who seem to subsist entirely on lamb. The whole suburb smells like a Sunday roast on steroids, which, after a while kills any desire for what was a staple of my youth.

    Dad and I used to fight over that lovely dark meat off the shank.

    Anyway, off for a last foray into the retail zone, masked up like a bank robber.

    All the best to all. Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

    Therese Trouserzoff


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, my cooking has slacked off quite a lot and what I would not give for an FM to stir the pots and tingle the tea spoon.

      Had a bit of a Covid scare yesterday and decided to get tested. My grandson had direct contact with a positive case. He was here with me for a few hours last Thursday. It threw a spanner in the Christmas organization with my meeting with lovely Annette today postponed till further. I had such a lovely present ready and could see the smile washing over her face like gentle waves on midsummer’s glowing sand.

      The grandson had two tests, both returned negative.
      Right now in self isolation with windows shut and the blinds rolled down surrounding myself with a throw-blanket of gloom, thick in despondency and self pity. I made a peanut sandwich on toast from a lump that I found at the back behind some frozen spinach. So, I am alright for now, just waiting for the result to come back..

      Wondering now if my Royal Raan with eventuate. My little family on tenterhooks. It’s all so far-out. Here I am triple vaccinated and yet locked in Covid’s vice.

      After all this I do wish you and family a riot of a Christmas too,



  7. freefall852 Says:

    Ah, yes..the passing of pleasant days..good food, good company..wonderful weather and times..if, sadly, spoiled somewhat by this damned virus..but hey!…Summer’s here (in the antipodes), the family gathers and I hope all is well in the social media blogger’s households…and best wishers to you, Gerard and all here.

    That pic of you in your last post, Gerard sitting whimsically on the park bench there gave me cause to think on my own reflection I saw as I walked past a shop window the other day…I still walk with what I feel are the brisk steps of a youthfull adult, but the sudden appearence of an old man in that shop window reflection made me stop and blink with disbelief…had I been robbed of those wonderful years of innocence to have this old reprobate impersonate me!?……I am now what I am…no regrets..well..perhaps a few…….

    The young courter.

    I wonder if young boys court the girls,
    Like we courted girls long ago,
    I wonder if they too do wonder on the mystery,
    That we pondered upon in those Summers that passed so slow.
    Those days when I rode my pushbike past her front hedgerow,
    With my shorts, brylcreme’d hair and ‘fair isle’ vest just to make a show.
    When I rode my pushbike past Jean Beacham’s front hedgerow.
    What I was seeking there, I then was not to know,
    For a girl was as much a mystery to us as was the impulse to grow,
    Which was the mystery would draw me to that front hedgerow,
    And Jean would sometimes flirt to me from her front window,
    So her younger sister could take aim – with ripe nectarines to throw,
    Where I sat there on my pushbike at the low hedgerow.

    Jean would laugh the kiss of the Summer hills,
    And smile the moonlight of June,
    She could mock me, shock me and tease me..still I would return,
    To ride my trusty treadly past her house forlorn..
    But I wonder if the young boys court girls nowadays,
    With such faithful concern?

    Have a good one, Gerard..catch you in the new year..

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jo, the passing of pleasant days. Laughter and love, bonhomie with family and friend. The telling of stories of years gone by, and all too quickly. When young we could not grow quick enough, that first cigarette, the awakening of feelings down the south of trousers’ belts and buttons and how to make sense of a world so strict and forbidden.

      And now, the world our oyster but does it still beckon, Jo? It does for me and I appreciate the time at my disposal. That lovely early morning walk, with smiling co-walkers all in tandem, dogs and all.

      Bit of a hurdle this coming Christmas. Could not believe I had to go get tested. The fourth time now. Self isolate till the results come in. I have a large multi room house with a small garden. Self isolate at the maximum 48 hours. Can you imagine two weeks in a small hotel room?

      Good poem about blossoming budding love on a bicycle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        You, Gerard live in the middle of a big city, I live way out in the Murray Mallee in what I call ‘splendid isolation’…we had my children here for a Chrissy dinner last weekend..My son brought his girlfriend…she was a very nice young woman and it was so wonderful to see a couple in love and starting out in life…making plans and all those things that we too did when younger..
        No..I haven’t yet had to take a covid test and I hope I never have to…the world of covid isolation and all that horrible locking away that comes with it seems so alien to me out here in the wilderness..

        Liked by 1 person

  8. shoreacres Says:

    Your recipe sounds lovely, except for the lamb! I wonder how that marinade and such would do for beef or chicken? I’m not even sure where I’d find lamb; I can’t remember ever seeing it at my meat market or the grocery, although it may be there. I could ask the proprietors of my local Greek restaurant; obviously, they would know.

    I hate that your plans have been disrupted. It seems so foreign to me. Even here, where it’s all Omicron all the time, nearly every article says the same thing: it’s highly transmissible, but hardly worse than a bad cold. Why people are panicking over a virus that clearly seems to be mutating into a less virulent form is beyond me.

    Ah, well. The way I figure it, at 75 I have a decade or maybe two left to me. I don’t intend to spend it in isolation, and neither do my friends and family. If you don’t watch tv and stay off social media, you can go for days here without hearing the words ‘covid’ or ‘omicron.’ It’s quite lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      This recipe was originally for goat meat. However, in the ‘Western countries goat meat hasn’t taken on the same as sheep. I have had goat meat and it is lovely.
      Lamb is very popular and mutton and hogget is also sometimes available. Perhaps older sheep are still branded as lamb?

      Yes, I am still under self isolation and the system is now overloaded that results might not be available. I had a stern rebuke from one of my coffee group in turning up. I just wanted to drop of some presents and had no intention of staying. Some get a real bee in their bonnet about this Covid and have an unhealthy attitude towards live and death.
      I heard that one person has passed away in the US from Omicron and now half the world is on a rampage to get tested and buy testing kits. Right night millions are prodding their nostrils in fear.

      I watch Netflix and lately reruns of Seinfeld,

      Liked by 2 people

      • shoreacres Says:

        As a matter of fact, that one person in the U.S. happened to pass away in Houston, and now there are taped conversations with hospital officials acknowledging that the fellow did have Covid, and it was the Omicron strain, but it wasn’t the direct cause of death. So there we are. The official who announced that death jumped the gun a bit, but there’s never taking anything like that back.

        Goat meat! I came to like it in Liberia, and of course here in Texas, the Hispanic population has introduced any number of wonderful dishes using goat meat. That sounds ever so much more appealing to me, and I think I know where I could get some goat meat. If I’m successful, I’ll try the dish!

        Liked by 2 people

  9. rangewriter Says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe! I have to legs in the freezer. I’ve just printed this and will try it on one of the legs. It looks delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

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