As part of a long standing family tradition, Easter always means eating Lamb so this year I decided to cook a very typical East African dish using a boneless butterflied lamb’s leg. In Swahili, Nyama means meat and Choma stands for roasted. It’s a very popular dish in East Africa especially in Kenya and Tanzania. Typically, Nyama Choma is slowly roasted on a grill over a bed of charcoal giving to the meat a particular taste.
However for those living in apartment like me, using your oven broiler could be a good alternative. I was eight years old when I ate for the first time Nyama Choma while vacationing with family in Nairobi. It wasn’t really fancy but it’s the type of childhood memory that you cherish for the rest of your life. Since then, that dish is among my favorite grilled meat recipes. It’s a simple dish that only requires few ingredients, with meat being the most important of all.
Disclaimer, there are many variations of Nyama Choma, but this is my way of cooking this dish.
Prep: 10 min (w/o marinade time) Cook: 12-16 min 4 Servings
1,5 Kg of boneless Lamb’s leg
½ teaspoon of my Homemade hot pepper paste
½ teaspoon of ground Chili flakes
3 gloves of Garlic minced
¼ cup of Oil
1. In a bowl, season the lamb with salt and pepper. (I butterflied my lamb’s leg to accelerate cooking time)
2. Combined lime juice, oil, garlic, homemade hot pepper paste and ground chili flakes in a small mixing bowl.
3. Pour the marinade in the bowl containing the lamb. Using your hands, coat the meat with the marinade. If you don’t want to use your hands, you can always use a plastic bag for this step instead of a bowl.
4. Use a plastic wrap to cover the bowl and place the meat in the fridge to allow the marinade to transfer its flavor for at least 2 hours.
5. After at least 2 hours, remove the lamb from the fridge so the meat can return to room temperature before grilling it or putting it in the oven.
Disclaimer: Since I’m living in an apartment and during winter time, I could only make this recipe using my oven broiler and not an outside grill.
6. Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position from the source heat then preheat the broiler on high for 10 to 15 minutes.
7. Place the meat on an oiled grill rack over an oven tray or on a grill pan. Broil the lamb for 6-8 minutes on each side until the surface of the meat has browned evenly. Turn off the broiler and remove the lamb from the oven.
The internal temperature of the lamb should be around 135°F for medium-rare, 140°F for medium and 165°F for well done. Personally, I prefer Nyama Choma when it’s well done.
Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes before carving it.
Traditionally, goat is the meat used for Nyama Choma, however any other kind of meat (beef, lamb, Chicken…etc.) can be used to make this dish.
Typically, the only seasonings used to make Nyama Choma are salt and pepper. And the meat is usually served with a chili sauce and wedges of lemon.