Category Archives: Lamb

Harees…new recipe variation

Fasting for Ramadan 2013 starts tomorrow and my daughter and I have been doing food prep this past week.   Yesterday we filled about 250 samboosas and then froze them.  So we are good to go for a few weeks, InshaAllah (God Willing).

A daily Ramadan staple is Harees.  I only ever cook it during Ramadan.  It is tasty and filling and a great thing to have for suhoor.  The original recipe uses wheatberries which is locally called “harees”.  It is a thick porridge made with a few simple ingredients:  wheatberries, choice of meat, water, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.

I met a lady, originally from Iran, now living here in the UAE who once told me that she made Harees using Quaker oatmeal and nobody knew the better of it.  I was intrigued because when I make it, it takes forever and her way sounded much easier.  I never followed through with her suggestion until about 3 weeks ago when another lady on a Facebook group that I am on, shared her recipe for Harees and it included oatmeal…so I had to try it!  It was so easy and tasty to make…even my husband liked it and could not tell the difference until I told him!

So here it is…easy peasy:

Harees Using Quaker Oatmeal

1 kg (2 pounds of meat of your choice) you can use lamb, beef, or chicken.  Note:  if you use beef, I suggest it be 1/2 kg  or one pound.  When I first made this recipe I used 1kg of beef and the harees came out a darker color than usually…it was still very tasty but not so good looking.

3 cups of Quaker oatmeal

1 small onion, chopped

1 small stick of cinnamon

1.5 liters (6 cups of water)

1 tablespoon of salt

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder

1/4 to 1/2 cup of melted butter

Directions:

In a large pot, add the meat of your choice, the chopped onion, cinnamon stick, and water.  Bring to a boil and cook until very tender.

Remove meat/chicken…debone if you have to…and then place into a food process and blitz for a few seconds until shredded.  Or you can finely chop the meat/chicken.

Using a strainer, drain the stock into a large pot.  Add the shredded meat/chicken, the 3 cups of Quaker oats, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Stir using a whisk.  Add more water if necessary by the cupful.  Bring to a boil and check every 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir each time you check on it.  Add more boiling water if necessary.  Cook for about 40 minutes.  Add the melted butter, stir and then serve.

(Note:  Make sure you stir the Harees every few minutes because it will stick to the pot and become an awful burned mess!)

Thank you Fatema for sharing the recipe 🙂

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Kefta and Arayes

The other night I was in the kitchen making Arayes.  My kiddos kept on coming into the kitchen wondering what I was making and when I told them they were totally surprised that I knew how to make it.  They all asked me why I didn’t make them before (it has been well over 8 years?…Wow a really long time!)  and I told them that I totally forgot about it until I got a request via Facebook for the recipe.

This makes a really nice light lunch and dinner when served with a soup and some hummus and grape leaves.  You must really serve this along with hummus so don’t forget!  On to the recipe…I hope that you like it!

Arayes (A-ra-yes)

Ingredients for Kefta: 

(adapted from Kofta Kebabs http://allrecipes.com/recipe/kofta-kebabs/Detail.aspx)

 ½ kg (1 pound) ground lamb or ground chicken

1 small onion, chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, chopped (up to you how much you like)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (you can use up to ½ cup)

1 tablespoon ground coriander

½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

*-*-*-*-*-*

½ cup of corn oil

12  fresh pieces of small (6 inch diameter) pita bread (the thin kind)

Make sure that the pita bread you use is fresh because if it isn’t it will be quite difficult to separate into halves.

Directions:

Place all of the kefta ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Set aside.

 Open up each of the pita bread so that it forms two halves.

 Take about ¼ cup (maybe a little less) of the kefta mixture and thinly spread it on one side of a pita half.  Place other half of the pita on top and press down so that it sticks together.  Set aside.

 

Note:  you need to spread the kefta thinly so that it will cook evenly and quickly.  If you spread it on thickly it might be undercooked when the bread has turned a golden brown.

Do this with the remaining kefta mixture and pita bread.

Once you are finished with all the pita bread, you can either lightly pan fry the Arayes or you can grill them.

If you are pan frying, you will need to cook on very low heat.  If you are grilling the Arayes, then you will need to place the grill on the highest level from the coals.  I much prefer grilling them because you will get that nice smoked flavor.

Lightly brush the Arayes on each side with the corn oil and place on either the frying pan or the grill.  When I cooked them this time I didn’t brush the outside of the pita with oil.  I had just added a teaspoon of oil to the pan and pan fried them that way.

 Cook until the bottom side is a nice golden brown color.  Flip it over and cook the other side the same way.

Once done place them either in a hotpot or on a large platter covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

Serve with Laban Up, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and a nice soup.

Enjoy!

Serves 5-6

Print the recipe here.

Thareed Laham (Flat Bread Layered with Lamb Stew)

Thareed  is another popular dish to make when a Muslim is fasting.  It is very common to make Thareed  for Iftar (breaking of the fast) during Ramadan because it is light on the stomach.  It is basically crispy flat bread layered with a meat soup.  Actually it is a cross between a hearty soup and a soupy stew.  (Does that make sense?)

It is often mispronounced as “Fareed” but the correct way to say it is Thareed.

Thareed is even mentioned in a hadith of the Prophet Mohammed 

Thareed can be made with lamb, chicken, and also with just vegetables.  Today I will give you the recipe for Thareed with lamb and will post the recipes for the chicken and vegetable later on, InshaAllah.

The best bread to use when making Thareed is Khobuz Raqaq which is a crispy wafer-thin bread.

If you live in the UAE you can usually find it in abundance during Ramadan.  There are women who make this early in the morning and will sit out front places like the Co-Op or the fruit and vegetable market selling these for Dh10 a bag.

You could also use Khobuz Irani which is a thin flat bread (about the thickness of tortillas) and this can be bought at any Iranian bakery.  Sorry I don’t have a picture to share of what it looks like.  Here in Sharjah there are many Iranian bakeries which are little hole-in-wall places in the neighborhoods of Ghafiyah andUmmKhanoor.

When I was living in the US, I would substitute Roti which I bought from the frozen food section of an Indian grocery store.  You could also use regular pita bread.  I have never used it before but a friend of mine has.

 This recipe can easily be halved but since it is Ramadan it is nice to share with your neighbors or to feed the poor.

Okay so on to the recipe:

Thareed Laham (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

1 kg (2 pounds) lamb stew meat

1 ½ liters of water (6 cups)

2 cups of finely chopped onions

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of corn oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 large potatoes, each potato quartered

4 small koosa (courgettes or  kalabasa squash) each piece cut into half

1 large carrot cut into 4 pieces

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 pieces of whole black dried lemons

1-3 pieces of green chili

3 cubes of Maggi

1 tablespoon of Arabic Bizar spice mix

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon black lemon powder (loomi aswad)

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

½ teaspoon black pepper powder

¼ teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder (or cayenne pepper)

¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

5 large piece of Raqaq bread or 2-3 pieces of Khobuz Irani (or you can substitue Roti or Pita bread)

(Note:  Tear the Raqaq bread or the Khobuz Irani into large pieces…about the size of the palm of your hand.  Leave the pieces out to air dry on a large platter on your kitchen counter or dining room table.  If you do not have Raqaq bread or Khobuz Irani available, you use Roti or Pita bread.)

Directions:

In a large pot, boil the lamb meat removing the foam when it starts to boil.  Boil for one hour.

Strain and reserve the broth.

In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they get a nice golden brown color.  Don’t burn the onions.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.

Add the tomato paste and all of the vegetables, EXCEPT the koosa (squash) mix together to coat the vegetables with the tomato paste.

Rinse the two whole dried lemons and then pierce each one once with a sharp knife.

Add the lamb meat, reserved broth, Maggi cubes, and the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the koosa and  the chopped cilantro.

Add more water if necessary to make this stew a bit soupy.  Taste for seasoning.

Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are almost done.  You can now add the koosa (squash) and the chopped cilantro and cook until the koosa is fork tender.

Preparation:

Carefully remove the meat and vegetables from the pot and keep aside on a large platter.

In a large deep sided bowl, add one layer of Raqaq bread (or whichever bread you are using.

Add another layer of bread and ladle some more liquid.

Each layer of bread will be soaking with the liquid from the stew.  None of the bread should be left dry.

Ladle the remaining liquid from the pot onto the bread.

Now you arrange the vegetables and lamb meat over the soaked bread.

You can garnish with a little bit more chopped cilantro if you wish.

Serve and enjoy!

Note:  Thareed is best eaten on the same day.

Print this recipe.

Harees

Harees bil Dajaj (Harees with Chicken)

Harees is one of the daily Ramadan staples here in the UAE.  It is easy on the stomach after a long day of fasting.  It is a very simple, delicious,and filling dish that can be eaten at Iftar (breaking the fast) or for Suhoor the meal before Fajr (morning) prayers.  It is served either alone as a main dish or as a side dish with all the other goodies during Ramadan.

During Ramadan, you will find this is one of those dishes that is widely shared between neighbors….if you should receive a bit too much or you get tired of eating it, it will freeze very nicely.  Just freeze it in an aluminum container, thaw it out in the fridge, and then heat it up in the oven.

Harees is also one of those dishes that you will find at every occasion…Ramadan, Eid, weddings, engagement parties, any special event…so I would classify it as one of the foods in UAE popular culture.

The “harees” grain is wheatberries in English and can be made with either lamb or chicken.  When my family was living in America, I also used pearl barley for this because it looked so similar to wheatberries and I achieved the same tasty result using it.

Also, you can add as much or as little chicken or lamb as you wish.  For the 2 cups of harees, I will usually use 1 kg of meat.  Of course, the more meat you use the more richer the dish.  But for economic reasons the harees would be more.  If you are using lamb this is a good time to use those bones and make a stock from it and debone what you can use.

Harees (wheatberries) up close

I made Harees Laham (Lamb Harees) just the other day and I experimented using the crockpot/slow cooker.  It is summertime and the temperatures outside are at least 45C.  During Ramadan in the summer, I want to spend as little time in the kitchen!  The results…I think it turned out better in the crockpot than cooking it over the stove top!

Okay now, on to the recipe:

Harees  (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

2 cups of harees (wheatberries) For best results, you will need to soak the harees (wheatberries) overnight or for at least 8 hours.

1 kilo (2 pounds) of chicken or lamb

2 sticks of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of black pepper powder

2-3 teaspoons of salt

water

samen (local-made clarified butter) or melted butter

Directions:

First of all, you will want to boil the chicken or the meat until tender.  After boiling until tender, debone your chicken or lamb.  Save the stock to use later on in this recipe.

In a large pot, add the harees, deboned chicken or lamb, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and the stock.  Add water if needed.  The stock/water need to cover the harees  by about 2 or 3 inches.

Bring to a boil and then turn down the fire/heat to low.  Let it boil, boil, boil until it reduces to a watery oatmeal-like consistency.  Total cooking time will be about 1 hour…I didn’t time it.

(Note:  Be sure to check every 10 minutes and just stir the pot so that the harees won’t burn at the bottom.)

Now you are ready to blend the harees.  Using a hand mixer, blend the harees in the pot until smooth.  It won’t be entirely smooth.  You can also use one of those hand blenders to do the job.

The harees when ready will have a thick consistency.  Serve on a small platter and spoon the samen (clarified butter) or melted butter on top to cover.  Some people will decorate the top of the harees with powdered cinnamon in a simple pattern.

Harees bil Laham (Harees with Lamb)

Cooking Harees in the crockpot or slow cooker:

This was my experiment:  If you cooking the harees using a crockpot, you will just need to add all the ingredients to the crockpot.  Add enough stock and water to equal 3 liters (12 cups).  I cooked this on high for 6 hours.

I added the lamb without deboning (I don’t think I will do that again).  I had to add a little more water so that I could blend it and then let it cook a little bit more (maybe an hour).

I will be making the harees again this way today because I think that it turned out much better than on the stovetop.  This time though I will be using already cooked and deboned lamb.

Harees at the end of cooking time. I just needed to add a bit of water to blend.

How to Cook Camel Meat…

Hello all,

I have only had camel meat three times in my life, twice was at a bedouin family’s wedding in Al Ain and the other was at a party at my sister-in-law’s house.  To me it tastes just like lamb…but it isn’t fatty like lamb meat.  The way that the camel meat was cooked when we had it at the wedding was quite delicious and hard to forget the succulent taste and the tenderness of the meat.

The best camel meat to use for cooking is from the younger camel because the older the more tougher.

Well, to tell you the truth I have not cooked camel meat at my home but for the purpose of this post I will use lamb meat which is the same method used for cooking camel meat.  The way that I am cooking this meat is the same way the meat (lamb, chicken, camel) is prepared when making it for special occasions (wedding parties and Eid).

This is just a basic recipe.  You can adjust the seasonings and add others to your liking later on.  Okay, on to the recipe…

Fried lamb layered over Lentil Hashwa and Yellow Rice

Ingredients:

2 kg, or more, of camel meat best if it is a whole piece like a roast or cut into big chunks like in the picture above

1 tablespoon tumeric powder

2 dried black lemons (loomi)

1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns

8 pods of green cardamon, crushed

1 teaspoon of whole cloves

1 large piece of cinnamon bark

3 bay leaves

1/4 cup of salt (to be added towards the end for flavoring)

oil for frying

Directions:

In a large pot, add about 2 tablespoons of corn oil.  Heat it up and lightly brown the meat to seal in the juices.

After the meat has that nice golden color add the tumeric, dried lemons, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, and bay leaves.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  Bring it to a rolling boil, lower the fire/heat so that it simmers, and cover the pot.

Cook it this way for about 1 hour and then add the salt.  Keep simmering until the meat becomes tender.  Take the meat out of the pot and set in a colander to drain.  At this point, you can save the stock to prepare some rice.

You will now need to lightly fry the meat.  So add enough oil to a wok or deep-sided frying pan, heat it up and carefully add the meat.  Be careful because it is going to splutter.  You just want to lightly fry the meat until it gets a nice golden color.  Remove it from the oil and let it drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

That’s it!  This is then layered over rice such as Yellow Rice and Lentil Hashwa (recipe for the Hashwa is upcoming!).

Marak Laham, Salona Laham, Meat Stew

This delicious stew is a regular lunch staple at my home.  I use lamb because this is preferred by us at home and when I cook with lamb the meat is more tender.  You could use beef if you wish but here in the UAE the beef available never cooks tender no matter what method I use to cook it.  It always turns out chewy and stringy.  

The stew is very versatile in that you can cook it with or without vegetables and you can make it is thick or thin as you like.   It can be served with plain white rice or flat bread. 

I finally got around to taking pictures and uploading them.  Much more pleasing to the eye and you will know what the end product will look like!  I will try do that to all the new recipes I post from now on, InshaAllah.

 

2 cups of chopped purple onions

2-3 cloves of minced garlic

1-inch cube of ginger, grated

2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 medium-sized capsicum (green bell pepper) chopped

½ cup finely chopped parsley

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¼ cup corn oil

1 kilo lamb stew meat with bone, cubed into 2-inch piecesDSC00032

1 ½ teaspoons Madras Curry powder

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1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground loomi aswad

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground red kashmiri chili powder

2 cubes of Maggi Chicken stock

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1-2 green chilies, whole

1 loomi aswad (dried black lemon), whole

¼ cup tomato paste

1 ½ liters of water (about 6 cups)

* Potatoes, calabaza squash, zucchini, okra, carrots (see the star below)

Salt to taste

In a medium-sized cooking pot, heat the corn oil.  When hot add the chopped onion.DSC00031

When the onion is translucent, add the lamb cubes.  Stir often and sauté the lamb until it is nicely golden brown on all sides.

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Add the minced garlic and grated ginger.  Stir to mix.

Add the chopped tomatoes and all of the ground spices.  Mix together and sauté until the tomato becomes very soft (like a mushy consistency).

Add the capsicum/bell pepper and the chopped parsley.  Stir.

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Add the tomato paste and water.  Stir.

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Add the green chilies and the whole piece of loomi aswad.

Bring the stew to a boil and then lower the flame to very, very low.  Let the stew simmer, covered, for 1 ½ hours or until the lamb is tender.

After the lamb is tender, the liquid level should be at half the pot.  At this point you will need to add more water or boil until the liquid level is half of the pot.

* You can now add your vegetables.  For my large family, I will usually add 3 large potatoes.  Each potato is quartered and added to the pot after the lamb becomes tender.   If you wish to add a mixture of vegetables you can use:

                1 large potato, quartered

                1 carrot cut into 1 ½ inch chunks

                1-2 small squash

                Potatoes and carrots are the usual combinations though that I have

                seen.

If you add vegetables to your stew, you will need to add approximately 30 minutes to the cooking time.

After adding the vegetables, bring the stew to a soft boil and after 10 minutes, taste and adjust for salt.  When I cook with potatoes I will add an additional 1 teaspoon of salt (but this is for my family).  Softly boil for an additional 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

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Your stew is now ready to enjoy!  Serve with plain Basmati rice or Khobuz Irani (if you are in the UAE) and a nice green salad made from a mixture of local-grown greens!

Mitchboos, Machboos, or Makboos with Chicken or Lamb

Mitchboos, as I call it, is actually the boiling of rice in stock.  It can be made from chicken, lamb, fish or shrimp.  Mitchboos is delicious using any of the mentioned meats.  The recipe is quite simple and uses ingredients that are readily available here in the UAE or can easily be found at your local Indian grocery store. 

 

Ingredients:

1 chicken (750grams to 1kg) cut up into 8 pieces or 1 kg of lamb stew meat with bone

 

2 cups of chopped onions

3 cloves, or more, of grated garlic

1 inch cube of grated ginger

2 cups of chopped tomatoes

½ cup of chopped cilantro (kuzbara)

1 green bell pepper, chopped

 

1 teaspoon of Madras curry powder (I use the Ship brand)

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon tumeric powder

1 teaspoon of dried black lemon powder

½ teaspoon cardamom powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder

2 Maggi chicken stock cubes

1 teaspoon of salt, optional

 

1 green chili pepper

1 whole dried lemon ball

3 cups of water

 

2 cups of Basmati rice (gently rinsed three times and left to soak for at least 30 minutes)

 

 

In a large pot, sauté the onions and the chicken (or lamb) until nicely browned.  Avoid burning the onions.

 

Add the garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cilantro, and bell pepper.  Mix the ingredients well and sauté for about one minute.

 

Now add the spices and stir very well.  Turn the heat to low and cover with lid.  Leave it to cook for about 10 minutes.

 

Now add the green chili, the whole dried lemon, and the water.  Let this stew gently boil for 45 minutes if you are using chicken (or 1hr 45 minutes if you are using lamb).  You will want the meat you are using to be thoroughly cooked and tender.

 

Now you will need a colander and another pot because you will strain the stew.  Put the meat mixture back into your cooking pot.  Add the rice.  Do not stir!

 

Measure the stock and it should be 3 cups of stock, if not, add more water and stir.  Now add this to the pot with the meat and rice.  Gently stir because you do not want to break up the rice kernels.

 

Bring the mitchboos to a boil and then turn the fire to lowest setting (I call it turning the fire to low-low).  Simmer on this very low fire for 17 minutes.  Turn off the fire and remove the lid so that the steam will escape and will the mitchboos will not turn soggy.

 

Gently remove the mitchboos onto a large platter.  Gently break up the rice so it will not look packed together on your serving plate. 

 

Serve with pickled onions, a plate of fresh greens (locally called roowaid, jarjeel).

 

Enjoy!

Harira Soup

This soup recipe is originally from Morocco.  I tried this recipe during Ramadan 2008 and all my children loved it.  I made this soup again today because it is rainy and cold outside.  This is an excellent cold weather soup. 

I did not have all of the ingredients so I substituted the cubed lamb meat with ground beef.  Also, I did not have the brown lentils so I substituted it with mung beans and the soup still turned out terrific.  Here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 kilo cubed lamb (or 1 pound of cubed lamb or ground beef or ground lamb)

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 Maggi stock cubes

a pinch of ground red chili powder (cayenne pepper)

3 tablespoons of cooking oil

1 large onion, chopped

medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup cilentro, chopped

8 cups of water

¾ cup brown lentils (or substitute with ¾ cup of mung beans or split green peas)  

 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup of vermicelli noodles

Juice of 1 lemon

2 eggs, beaten (optional)

 

In a large cooking pot, heat the cooking oil and saute the lamb until nicely browned.  Add the onions and sauté until the onions are soft and transparent.  Add the tomatoes, all the spices, lentils, and Maggi stock cubes.  Stir well.  Add the water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the lamb is tender (about 2 hours).

 

Add the can of drained garbanzo beans and the vermicelli.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes.

 

Stir in the lemon juice and the eggs.  Cook for a minute.

 

Serve hot.  This soup is excellent the next day if there are any leftovers!

Fried Kabab Patties

This untraditional kabob recipe was something I tried out during this Ramadan 2008. It is untraditional in the sense that these kabobs are not grilled but rather fried. These kababs are really easy to make. They are absolutely delicious and very filling. Try having these with Laban Up, yogurt for dipping, and a small salad. Yummy!

Kabab Urouq

Step One:
2 cups of flour
1 tsp of yeast
1/4 cup of warm water
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of flour

In a large bowl, add the flour and set aside.
In a small bowl, add the warm water, yeast, sugar, and flour. Mix well and keep in a warm place for about 20 minutes. The yeast mixture will be ready when has risen by about an inch.

Now it is time to add the yeast mixture to the flour. Slowly add in the water. Your batter should be very thick. If it isn’t thick you can add flour by the tablespoon until it is very thick.

Set aside the flour mixture in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Step 2:
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves of grated garlic1
/2 cup finely chopped tomato
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 bunch of finely chopped cilentro (kuzbara)
1/4 cup of grated carrot
1/4 cup of grated potato
500 grams (1 pound) of minced beef or lamb or chicken or 3 cans of tuna
1 egg

Add all of the above ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well. (I use my hands). Keep this mixture aside until the batter has risen.

Step 3:
Now it is time to add the vegetable and meat mixture to the batter. Mix it very well.

Heat a wok or deep frying pan with enough oil to fry.

You will need two dinner (tablespoons) to make the kabobs. With one spoon you will scoop up the kabab mix and the other spoon will be used to scoop off the kabab mix into the oil.

Fry the kababs on low heat to cook the inside and then turn the heat to medium to brown the outside. This takes about five to seven minutes to cook one batch of kababs. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.

This recipe makes about 50 kababs. Any leftovers can be microwaved the next day and they are still delicious!

Enjoy!