Tabak Maaz: Indian Style Lamb Ribs (or Goat)

Tabak maaz is a traditional lamb or goat rib recipe of Kashmiri cuisine, and one of the most famous dishes in the Wazwan feast, a decadent meal featuring not one or two, or even five courses of lamb, goat, and other meats, but 36! The celebratory feast is seen as an art form, and chefs take a special pride in preparing the dishes.

crisped browned lamb ribs cooked Indian style garnished with cilantro.
Tabak maaz are lamb ribs cooked slowly in tumeric milk with spices and fried golden brown.

Tabak Maaz Ingredients

The secret to the recipe is that the riblets are soaked overnight in a spiced tumeric milk, then simmered until tender and browned in ghee until crisp. They’re perfumed with spices and make a great appetizer browned crisp and delicious in ghee.

ginger, black cardamom, saffon, bay leaves and other spices
Indian spices for lamb ribs: ginger, cardamon, pepper, black cardamom, bay leaf, fennel.

This recipe has some exotic spices. Black cardamom can be found at your local Asian grocery store in the spice section, or purchased online. Unlike green cardamom, which has a rich, floral taste and aroma, black cardamom is rich, dark and smoky.

lamb ribs cooking in tumeric spiced milk
The Kashmiri-style ribs are cooked in an aromatic tumeric milk with spices.

Lamb and goat ribs are very rich. Some people may like them served as-is, but Chef Bergo recommends giving them a light trim to remove some of the fat. See our post on how to cook lamb or goat ribs for a demonstration of how Chef trims his ribs.

indian lamb ribs crisping in a pan
After marinating and simmering, pat the ribs dry and fry them crisp.

Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo





This recipe is by James Beard Award-winning Chef Alan Bergo. He’s a chef from Minnesota and author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora. Learn more about Chef Alan at 

Looking for grass-fed lamb and goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

lamb or goat ribs on a pewter plate wazwan style
Finished fried lamb ribs.

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crisped browned lamb ribs
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5 from 1 vote

Tabak Maaz: Indian Style Lamb Ribs (or Goat)

Kashmiri-style lamb or goat ribs simmered in spiced tumeric milk and browned crisp in ghee. Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4 as a main dish.
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Marinating time8 hours
Total Time9 hours 45 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: goat ribs, Lamb ribs
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 512kcal
Cost: 20


  • 1 large soup pot for braising the ribs
  • 1 10 inch cast iron pan for browning the ribs


Ribs and tumeric milk

  • 3 lbs lamb or goat ribs
  • 4 qts water
  • 1 qt whole milk
  • 30 grams 8 large cloves fresh garlic
  • 30 grams or 2 each 1in x 3 inch rectangles fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 small onion halved
  • 2 Tablespoons ground turmeric
  • Tiny pinch saffron optional
  • 6 dried bay leaves
  • 75 grams 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon kosher salt

Spice Blend

  • 3 3 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 20 grams whole black cardamom roughly 6 medium-sized pods
  • 10 whole green cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seed
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns

Serving and finishing

  • ¼ cup ghee
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Finishing salt optional



  • Lightly toast the toast the ingredients for the spice blend, then roughly crush in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Combine the spices, onion, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and salt with the water in a soup pot, bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and cool.

Marinating the ribs

  • Add the ribs and milk to the liquid and refrigerate overnight (optional). Add a little extra water to barely cover the ribs if needed.
  • Bring the ribs to a simmer, turn the heat to low, and cook for an hour on the lowest heat possible. Do not allow the ribs to boil or they could fall apart.
  • Test to see if the ribs are done by wiggling a bone-it should move freely, but they should not be falling apart. Allow the ribs to cool in the liquid for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the ribs and pat dry. From here the ribs can be prepared days ahead of time.

Browning and serving

  • Brown the ribs crisp in the ghee on both sides and serve the hot garnished with cilantro and finishing salt.


The ribs make a great appetizer to a larger Indian-style meal. 


Serving: 6ribs | Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 466IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 12mg