Monday, November 14, 2011

Lamb Kabsa

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I have arrived in Saudi!  And it's time to get cookin'!  But, there's bad news and good news.  Bad news: my choices for cooking have become extremely limited...I no longer have the variety I was used to in the States.  Good news:  I get to try cooking a whole new cuisine using ingredients I may have never seen in the States!

So, this dish is my first attempt at Saudi cooking.  I found this great blog...Ya Salam Cooking.  She's a local Saudi woman and she has some fantastic recipes.  This recipe got rave reviews, so let's get cooking!

This recipe calls for Black Limes.  Okay, I admit...I had NO idea what a black lime was.  I thought I'd find it in the produce section!  Some kind of lime variation right?  Wrong.  It's actually found in the spice isle.  It can also be called a dried lemon.  Here in Saudi, they smoke them (which turns them black in the process) and it gives your food that great smokey flavor.  You may have to look in a specialty store in the States in order to find these.  If you can't find them, sub a bit of Liquid Smoke.  (found in all supermarkets)  

*Okay so this didn't turn out exactly as planned...the rice didn't cook properly and there was too much broth..BUT, the flavors were amazing.  Both of my girls loved it...and of course, so did the hubby!  :)  I'll be making this again soon!

Happy cooking!  !سعيد الطبخ

2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 kilogram lamb chunks (about 2 lbs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
1 tomato
4 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
4 green cardamom pods
Pinch saffron
4 cloves
1 black lime
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1-1/2 cups basmati rice (soak rice in water for at least 30 min...then drain)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
fried pine nuts and almonds, for garnish (optional)

1. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat add lamb and cover with water and add chicken cubes. Allow to come to a full boil then reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for about an hour (check after about 45 min.)  When the lamb is done reserve some of the lamb broth. 
While the lamb is cooking... in a food processor add onion and pulse until diced, remove and then do the same with the tomato.  Make sure you don't puree it. Set both aside.

2. In a saute pan over medium heat, add oil and onions. Cook the onions until tender, then add tomato, tomato sauce, cumin, cardamom pods, pepper, salt, cinnamon, black lime, ginger, cloves and saffron. Cook for 1 minute.

3. Stir in the rice and mix it in with the spice mixture.  Then, add the meat and carefully push down so no rice is above meat. Pour lamb broth very carefully on top of mixture. Broth should be 1/2 inch above mix. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to cook 30-40 minutes minutes, until rice has fully cooked. DO NOT remove the lid until finished.

4. Place on serving platter. Garnish top with nuts (if using) and cilantro.

Yields: 4 servings

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