Ground-Lamb and Potato "Chops" with Sambal Oelek

ground-lamb potato chops
Photo: Nik Sharma

The recipe for these delectable potato patties filled with juicy lamb and coated in crisp breadcrumbs comes from Nik Sharma's "Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food." His take on the Goan specialty calls for flavoring the meat with sambal oelek and apple-cider vinegar instead of the traditional spices and coconut vinegar.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup minced red onion

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 piece ginger (1 inch), peeled and grated

  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar

  • 1 ½ tablespoons sambal oelek

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 cups dry breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil


  1. In a large skillet with a cover, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onion and saute until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Break up lamb into small chunks and add to skillet; cook until meat is browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add vinegar, sambal oelek, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir gently to combine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir in cilantro and adjust seasoning as desired. (Lamb filling can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.)

  2. While lamb is cooking, place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with cool water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until completely tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain; let potatoes cool to room temperature. (Potatoes can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.)

  3. Peel potatoes; using a masher or fork (or a ricer if you prefer a smoother texture), mash until there are no visible chunks left behind. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

  4. To assemble chops, take 3 or 4 generous tablespoons mashed potatoes in the palms of your hands and flatten into a disk. Put 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lamb filling in the center, and fold the edges of the potato around it to form a patty 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Transfer to a sheet of parchment; repeat with remaining potatoes and filling.

  5. Whisk egg in a small bowl. Spread out breadcrumbs on a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush a patty with egg and coat evenly with breadcrumbs, shaking off excess. Repeat with remaining patties.

  6. In a nonstick or cast-iron skillet, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-low. Cook patties in batches, adding more oil as needed, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or warm.

Cook's Notes

If you have any chops leftover, Sharma recommends enjoying them for breakfast topped with a fried egg.

Reprinted from "Season" by Nik Sharma with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018.


You can substitute ground chicken or turkey for the lamb.

Related Articles