Lamb Shoulder Cooked in Yoghurt & Cumin Seeds


  • 3 tablespoons of cumin seeds, toasted (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon pul biber (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1.5kg lamb shoulder, boned and rolled, lightly trimmed of excess fat
  • 250g plain yoghurt
  • 80ml olive oil
  • flat leaf parsley, to garnish

Freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds add wonderful flavour to dishes. To toast cumin seeds, tip them into a small frying pan and lightly fry them over medium heat for a minute or two, until they smell fragrant, shaking the pan often to toss the seeds around so they don’t burn. Then just grind them to a powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Pul biber is a crushed red powder made from dried aleppo peppers. It is mild to medium in heat, and the Turkish love sprinkling it over just about anything. If you can’t find it in spice shops or Middle Eastern grocery stores, you can use chilli flakes instead.


Preheat the oven to 180°C, or fire up a wood-fired oven or a hooded barbecue to a medium heat.

Mix together the cumin seeds, pul biber, salt and pepper. Rub the lamb with the yoghurt, then rub the spice mix in, so it all sticks onto the lamb.

Wrap the lamb in foil and bake for two hours, or until it is meltingly tender and cooked to your heart’s desire. Remove the lamb from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Pull the meat apart and pile it onto a platter. Garnish with parsley and serve with your choice of side dishes.

Pair with 2018 Section One Shiraz.

This is an extract from Turkish Fire by Sevtap Yuce, sourced from