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Turkish Roasted Lamb Is Called 'Kuzu Tandır' (3)

Kuzu tandır' (koo-ZOO' tahn-DUHR') is the most beloved lamb dish in Turkish cuisine. It's lamb so fragrant and tender, it falls away from the bone and melts in your mouth like cotton candy.

Its name, 'tandır,' comes from the ancient technique of cooking meat in a special oven made from a pit in the soil. This technique was used for centuries by the Seljuk Turks and their ancestors from central Asia. It's still seen in Turkey, Greece, the Caucasus, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan today.

These special pit "ovens" were lined with a mixture of mud and thatch or goat hair shaped into a vessel that was wide at the base and narrow at the neck. It was left to dry in the hot sun of the Asian steppes.

Once the hardened vessel was placed inside the pit, wood and coal were burned inside and all but the narrow opening would be covered with soil. 'Tandır' ovens were used not only for cooking, but for heating dwellings as well.

The traditional way to cook meat in a 'tandır' is to hang the lamb whole from a suspended hook over the coals, then cover the top and leave it to cook for hours on end.

Today, there are many places and many famous restaurants in Turkey that still roast lamb in this traditional way. Now, the name 'tandır' also refers to any meat roasted slowly in its own juices over coals, on the stove or in the oven.

I make 'kuzu tandır' in the oven using a metal baking tray. It's actually a very simple recipe and takes only minutes to prepare. The most time is spent for cooking. One lamb leg cooks for nearly three hours. Make sure you're around to turn the meat frequently as it cooks.

Serve your 'tandır' the traditional way with a side of Turkish rice pilaf with orzo, or with Turkish-style potato puree.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 leg of lamb (drumstick and thigh portions)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • ½ cup hot water

About Us ...

Welcome to Anatolian, a Turkish Restaurant like no other right in the heart of Broadmeadows where all the flavors of Turkey come together.

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Broadmeadows Shopping Centre Pascoe Vale Road,Broadmeadows (Next to Hoyts Cinema) Melbourne Victoria 3047 Australia

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