Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lamb Machboos and Dakkous

No dish is more symbolic of Kuwaiti hospitality than Lamb Machboos, which is traditionally prepared by Bedouins with a freshly slaughtered sheep to feast a visitor. Today, mutton retains its popularity and is widely available in supermarkets and butcher shops.

Contrary to Western methods of cooking meat, this dish is prepared by first simmering the meat in water, then browning it in oil and spices. The stock is used to prepare the rice, and a flavorful garnish ( heshew ) and tomato sauce ( dakkous ) are served over the top before eating. Chicken machboos can be prepared in essentially the same manner, but of course cooking time is reduced.

Basic Dish

  • 1 leg of lamb or 1k. boneless lamb
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 onion, cut in quarters
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • Pinch of saffron threads soaked in 1/4 cup warm water
  • Wash a leg of lamb or large lamb pieces thoroughly and place in a pot. Cover with water and spices, and simmer one hour or more till the meat is tender. Add salt after half an hour. When meat is tender, remove the meat, and strain and reserve the stock.
  • While the meat is cooking, rinse the rice, leave to soak in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain well. Also prepare the heshew and dakkous .
  • In a separate pan, heat 1/4 cup oil. Sprinkle meat with a teaspoon of ground cardamom, brown it in the oil and remove. To the remaining oil add the drained rice and 4 cups of stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer till all the liquid is absorbed. Pour saffron water over rice and top with meat. Cover well and warm on lowest heat for 15 minutes. Spoon rice onto a shallow dish, top with heshew and meat. Serve with dakkous . Serves 4-6.
Garnish ( Heshew )

  • 1/3 cup sultanas, soaked in water
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, cardamom and black lime powder
  • Brown onions in a non stick pan without oil, stirring continuously. Add pine nuts and brown, then add drained sultanas and spices. Set aside.

Sauce ( Dakkous )

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 T. white vinegar
  • 4 medium tomatoes, pureed, or 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Fry onions and garlic till golden. Add remaining ingredients, stir and simmer 5 minutes.
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