Pan-Fried Lamb Chops with Miso Marinade is a Western-style dish with a touch of Japanese flavour. You could call this dish, ‘Wafū Pan-Fried Lamb Chops’ or ‘Japanese-style Pan-Fried Lamb Chops’. The slightly sweetened miso marinade is tasty and goes so well with lamb.
Japanese people don’t eat lamb very often. There are no traditional Japanese dishes using lamb. People find that the smell of the lamb meat is too strong. Perhaps because of this, many lamb dishes that Japanese people cook are either marinated, strongly spiced, or served with sweet soy-flavoured sauce.
My Lamb Story
I was also not fond of lamb for the same reason, but it was a long time ago. My first experience with lamb was a plate of lamb chops with mint sauce. Soon after I started working in Sydney, my work colleagues took me to a pub and insisted that I should have it.
I did not enjoy it at all. The lamb was overcooked and it had a strong smell. The mint sauce was terrible – as if it had artificial flavouring in it (probably it did). Everyone else was happily eating the same dish. Someone said the mint sauce was beautiful. So, my first encounter with lamb was a negative experience.
But I wanted to cook lamb because lamb was cheap at the time, compared to other meat. A side of lamb was 99 cents per kilo if I remember correctly. So, I bought a cookbook and started learning how to cook lamb. I cooked navarin of lamb for the first time.
It didn’t take long for me to get used to lamb and now lamb is my favourite meat. I love the flavour of the lamb meat. To me, the flavour of lamb is better than beef, pork, chicken, and any other meat. Whenever my children offer to cook a meal for me on special occasions, I ask for a roast lamb or other lamb dish (but no mint sauce as I was scarred for life).
Today’s recipe, Pan-Fried Lamb Chops with Miso Marinade is a lamb dish that many Japanese people make using lamb imported from Australia or the USA. It is a very simple dish.
What’s in My Pan-fried Lamb Chops with Miso Marinade
The ingredients basically consist of lamb and basic Japanese seasonings to make a miso marinade.
- Lamb chops or cutlets
- Oil to pan-fry (not in the photo above)
I used lamb cutlets, which might be called lamb chops in other countries. Lamb cutlet is the most tender cut of meat, with rib bones on it. You can also use other cuts of lamb such as forequarter chops, loin chops, and steaks.
- Cooking sake
- Grated garlic
I added garlic to the marinade to make the flavour more Westernised, but you can use grated ginger instead. It will make the flavour more authentic.
How to Make Pan-Fried Lamb Chops with Miso Marinade
There are only two things to do to make Pan-Fried Lamb Chops with Miso Marinade:
- Marinate the lamb chops for a few hours to overnight.
- Pan-fry the marinated chops.
The marinating time depends on the thickness of the meat. If the meat is only about 1cm / ⅜” thick, a couple of hours will be sufficient. My lamb chops were close to 2cm / ¾” thick, and I marinated them for 3 hours. You can marinate them longer than that if you like.
It is also possible to grill the chops instead of pan-frying, but I prefer pan-frying. Pan-frying keeps the meat moist compared to grilling and the lovely flavour of the meat is more contained.
Because the marinade has a good amount of mirin and some sugar, it tends to burn quickly. It is important to remove the marinade as much as possible from the surface of the meat before cooking (see photo above). For the same reason, I cook the lamb with a lid on after turning it over so that the cook time can be reduced.
Pan-Fried Lamb Chops with Miso Marinade is not a traditional Japanese dish. But more Japanese people cook lamb these days, often with Japanese flavourings.
I am so happy to be able to add a lamb dish to my Japanese recipe collection. And this is delicious!
Pan-Fried Lamb Chops with Miso Marinade is a Western-style dish with a touch of Japanese flavour. The slightly sweetened miso marinade is tasty and goes so well with lamb.
Cook Time includes 2 minutes of resting time after cooking lamb, and Total Time include 3 hours of marinating time.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 4 lamb cutlets (or chops, note 1)
- 1 tbsp oil
- Green salad
- Tomato wedges
Put all the Miso Marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well until there are no lumps of miso.
Place the lamb cutlets on a plate or a cutting board. Use a little bit less than half of the miso marinade to coat the surface of the lamb cutlets. Ensure that the bones are also coated with the marinade (because you will want to chew them).
Spread a 60cm long piece of cling wrap on the work bench. Place the lamb cutlets snuggly on the cling wrap, with the miso side down.
Coat the surface of the lamb, including sides, with the remaining miso marinade.
Fold both ends of the cling wrap, removing air as much as possible. Then fold the sides to completely wrap the cutlets. Leave them in the fridge for 3 hours (note 3).
Take the lamb out of the fridge about an hour before cooking. This is to bring the meat to room temperature.
Scrape the marinade off the surface of the meat as much as possible (note 4). If you leave too much marinade on the meat, it will burn quickly due to the sugar in the marinade.
Add oil to a non-stick frying pan and heat over medium heat.
Place the lamb cutlets in the frying pan and cook for 3 minutes (note 5).
Turn them over, reduce heat to low, and cook for 2½ minutes (note 5) with a lid on.
Remove the lid, hold the lamb chops with tongs, and cook the side (where the band of fat is) for 15 seconds or so.
Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Rest for 2 minutes.
Serve two cutlets per person with green salad and tomato wedges.
1. I used lamb cutlet (also called lamb chop in other countries), which comes with a rib bone. The meat is very tender.
My 4 lamb chops weighed 335g / 0.7lb in total and the thickness of the lamb was about 2cm / ¾".
You can also use other cuts of lamb such as forequarter chops, loin chops, and steaks.
2. Instead of garlic, you can use grated ginger for a different flavour.
3. If your lamb is very thin, say 1cm / ⅜” thick, you will need to marinate for only 1-2 hours. If your lamb is much thicker than mine, marinate longer or even overnight.
4. You will probably have a bit of miso marinade left over after scraping it off the meat. You can reuse it to marinate meat or fish. But you need to use it up within 1 week. Alternatively, you can use it as a flavouring for a stir fry.
5. Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the lamb.
If your lamb is very thin, you will need to cook it for only a couple of minutes on each side.
If your lamb is very thick, I would recommend searing the surface of the lamb on both sides, then cook it in the oven at 180°C / 356°F until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 63°C / 145°F.
6. Nutrition per serving. It is assumed that 80% of the lamb chops is edible due to bones. It is also assumed that 50% of the miso marinade is consumed (probably overstating).
serving: 160g calories: 300kcal fat: 15g (23%) saturated fat: 4g (20%) trans fat: 0.4g polyunsaturated fat: 2.1g monounsaturated fat: 8.4g cholesterol: 88mg (29%) sodium: 571mg (24%) potassium: 311mg (9%) carbohydrates: 6.3g (2%) dietary fibre: 0.7g (3%) sugar: 3.5g protein: 34g vitamin a: 1% vitamin c: 0.4% calcium: 1.4% iron: 15%