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Lemon-Grass-Grilled Rack of Lamb With Tamarind Sauce

4 stalks lemon grass, trimmed and minced
4 shallots, peeled
2 Thai chilies, or 1 small jalapeņo, stemmed and seeded, or about 1 teaspoon crushed
red chili flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon neutral oil, like corn or canola
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
2 small racks of lamb, about 1 1/4 pounds each, cut into riblets
Salt and pepper
Tamarind sauce (see recipe)

1. Combine lemon grass with shallots, chilies, sugar and oil in a mortar and pestle or a
food processor, or mince finely with a knife. Add fish sauce. Sprinkle lamb with salt and
pepper and marinate it in this mixture for 2 to 3 hours, wrapped and refrigerated.

2. Start grill. Rake coals so fire is quite hot on one side and cooler on the other, and grill
rack is about 4 inches from heat source. Grill lamb, starting on hot part of grill, until crusty,
turning as necessary. Move it to cooler part if it threatens to char. Cook until an instant-read
thermometer inserted into center of meat measures 125 to 130 degrees for rare; this will take
between 10 and 15 minutes. Serve hot, with tamarind sauce. Yield: 4 servings.