Lamb leg steaks are perfect with Tahini Beetroot Dressing. Juicy steaks and a tabouli style salad make this something you need to try for dinner or your next BBQ it’s as good as it looks, The recipe is after a peak at Sumatra.
I am not sure when I fell asleep but the morning sun was burning a hole on the left side of my face. There was a crack in the wooden frame window and a thick spider web I was glad I hadn’t seen last night. It had been a little easier the night before, we had to find food and a bed and safety, but this morning, well that was another story. All eyes were on me. We got here by boat, surely we could get back to where we wanted to go just the same way. I felt really responsible, for my sister, but if I fell apart we were probably more doomed. We dragged our packs down the rickety staircase of the loft above the bar. There was a guy lying behind the desk asleep on the floor. It was already hot and I had those beads of sweat on my top lip, silent sentinels indicating my lack of tropical climate cred. He stirred, we said hello, we asked if there was a boat, (what I wanted to say was we want a shower, a chauffeur and a power point to plug my sisters hair dryer in) while he cleared his throat onto the dirt floor in a sort of morning gargle without the mouthwash.
There was a lot of morning activity in the village outside , motor bikes driving by, with women riding side saddle, large bicycles with small boys manoeuvring in a wobbly standing way and other young men drinking friends on the handlebars, hanging about giggling and chickens scratching in the dust. This a was not where we were supposed to be…. I was telling myself this, you know how you tell yourself these things- even when you quite clearly know? The “concierge” sent for his sister, who spoke English and by the time she was summoned we had tea and two raw eggs with the white lightly coloured in glasses in front of us. Her English was exhausted by good morning and we resorted to hand gestures, drawings and repetition. She had a least had some practise at this in English classes.
It was discovered that in fact, Tuktuk our preferred destination was an hours walk over the hill/mini mountain. This was the only direct route (really did we have a lie detector?….no) and they had just the tour guide for the job. A map was produced and duly consulted and we were off by 10 am. Our guide had a deep scar down the left side of his face, he was short and stocky and had the same leering yellow grin as the Skipper the day before but we were buoyed by the fact that there were about 20 kids following us, laughing pointing and generally having the time of there lives as we dripped with sweat and asked the guide to stop every 15 minutes, as my sisters back pack was the size of a light aircraft.
As we reached the top of the hill and looked down into the valley, we saw the Batak houses, and nearly cried with joy. The only thing preventing me crying was the lack of water I could produce for tears. It was still a long way down the hill to the waters edge but it looked like paradise. There were little houses made of wood and coconut palm fronds, giant Batak houses and tiny shops selling coke and sprite and mosquito coils. Restaurants, lean to’s mostly, with tables, and notably other tourists. Our guide took us to the reception of a Batak house right down by the Lake, and after a quick exchange of words and a few Rupiah from us, he left us in a puddle at reception. The walk had taken us a bit over an hour and a half. The girl looked a us and said. “Lucky you come here stay, that very bad man.” We sat at a table facing Lake Toba in the breeze and as she brought us two lemonades and placed them on the table, I asked her why our guide was a bad man. She looked around, to make sure he was gone, or perhaps make sure no one else heard and said. “He very bad, go jail for kill girl.”
At times like this I eat, I don’t know about you, but eating makes me feel lucky to be alive. There was no Lamb on Samosir Island, but if there was, I would have had this meal. Lamb with Tahini beetroot Dressing.
This was only the second day of our visit and it was turning out to be a big adventure indeed.
Lamb Tahini Beetroot Dressing
- 500gm ( 1 lb) Lamb leg steak, (fillet, beef or chicken)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tespoons sesame seeds ( save these until the meat is cooked)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- ½ cup of cooked fregola sarda, fregalone or quinoa, farro or couscous!
- ½ cup of grated zucchini
- ½ small bunch of parsley ( flat leaf- 1 cup chopped, not too fine)
- ½ cup of mint leaves ( chopped not to fine)
- ½ bunch ( ¼ cup) chopped chives
- 1 small tomato small diced ( ½ cup)
- 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 100gm sliced cooked drained beetroot or approx ½ cup
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 small clove garlic ( ¼ teaspoon crushed)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice ( approx ½ lemon)
- Optional : Pinenuts for sprinkling 2 Tablespoons
- Put the meat into a bowl and cover with the cumin, oil and seasoning and leave to marinate.
- Mix the tabouli ingredients together in a bowl and stir well. Taste for seasoning and dressing . The salad will leach a bit of juice when it sits. Set aside
- Make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients into the blender bowl and blend till smooth. Season with salt to taste
- Grill the meat on the bbq or a grill pan on high. Caramelize on 1 side before turning. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Once the other side is done repeat by sprinkling more sesame seeds. Take off the heat and rest
- Serve with the tabouli and a big spoon of the dressing , with extra dressing on the side ( do not dress the salad with the beetroot Tahini). Sprinkle with pinenuts if using