Bedouin Lamb Rice

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bedouin Lamb Rice is a rustic yet rich dish with minimal ingredients. You will know it in a bit...😀This rice dish is so d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s with flavours of lamb meat cooked just with whole spices and dried lime. What made me want to try this Bedouin rice was that there is no special “spice mix” required, nor a zillion onions to be sliced… not even peeling of garlic...😊

Bedouin Lamb Rice

Haven't heard of Bedouins? I learnt about them after I came to Gulf. For the uninitiated, Bedouins are Arabic speaking nomadic people of the Middle Eastern deserts. The food they eat or serve is always sourced from their own camels or goats. Hence, dairy products and meat are the most consumed food, along with dates. Even though rice and spices are imported, it is a major part of the Bedouin cuisine. Their culture and lifestyle are worth reading and I can go on and on... but this post is about the rice... so will stick to it. 

With such simplicity of the dish, I wondered if Bedouin rice can be a special occasion dish. Meat eaters will not deny - meat in any form is always welcome. :-)

I made this on a Thursday late afternoon so we can dig into the piping hot food when F is home by 4. Well, honestly, I chose to make it late afternoon because I hate to shoot with harsh sunlight during peak noon 😝 I think this is the first time I timed the meal as per my needs for the photo shoot :-D I has requested him to have light meal at work so we can indulge this in the evening.

Bedouin Lamb Rice

I made a big batch of this Bedouin lamb rice hoping to give away a portion to Z in her boxes that are sitting with me. But B-U-T, (you guessed it right! ) it was all over by late night...! We had most of it for a late lunch (supposedly an "early dinner") and later coaxed him into having the rest of it as a late dinner because well it was weekend eve! 😋 Sorry Z, next time.

Bedouin Lamb Rice

As there is no spice blend or spice powders involved, the taste of this Bedouin lamb rice is closest to the original and I don’t think it can get any simpler than this. The recipe is adapted from my favourite YouTuber Saudi Food Eman who has a plethora of Saudi food recipes and it is always a delight to watch her videos.

I had planned to post this for Saudi National Day which is next month but this is too good to wait that long! So linking this post for this month’s #MFBChallenge where we were asked to cook a meat based recipe as Eid ul Adha (Bakrid) is around the corner. You know by end of the Eid day our freezer would be packed with all the meats we receive from family and neighbours etc. Don't hesitate to try this rice dish!

Bedouin Lamb Rice

Now, what is this rice served with? Almost all the gulf countries have a tomato based condiment that is served with rice. Each of them calls it by different names and the most common being Salata Harra. But this time I learnt that in Saudi it is called Dugous or Dakkous or Daqqus etc. and there is no fixed recipe. Add or reduce the items as per your taste. But the zing factor of tomato and lemon is the best thing that this rice can be married to.

In simple steps, pressure cook meat, add rice and more water as required and cook until done. Fry pine nuts and raisins to garnish. Blend the Dakkous ingredients and serve. Ta da!

But because it is rice, I chose to cook in a pot and also chose to measure the stock water before adding more water as I cannot gauge or eyeball it. This is the safest and fail-safe method.

Bedouin Lamb Rice


Adapted from Saudi food Eman YouTube channel

Bedouin Lamb Rice

Yields: Actually for 3 to 4 but 2 foodie had it all. 

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons ghee
2 small sized loomi (dried black lime)
4 to 5 2" cinnamon sticks
6 green cardamoms
4 cloves

850 grams lamb or mutton with bone (you can use boneless too), fat trimmed, chopped to bite sizes, washed and drained completely
Salt to taste
2 cups hot water

2 and 1/4 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked for 10 to 15 minutes and drained completely
More water to cook rice
3 to 4 green or fresh red chillies

To Garnish:
3 to 4 tablespoons pine nuts
3 to 4 tablespoons golden raisins
2 teaspoons ghee
Fistful coriander leaves

For Dugous / Dakkous / Daqqus etc... 
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
a few strands of coriander leaves
1 garlic crushed and chopped finely
2 green birds eye chillies
lemon juice to taste (1/2 a lemon)
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add all the whole spices. Roast on medium flame until fragrant. 
  2. Add the meat and brown it with a little salt. Cook the meat uncovered stirring occasionally until you don't see any moisture.
  3. Add hot water and cover the pressure cooker. Pressure cook on medium flame for 5 to 6 whistles. 
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the garnish of pine nuts and raisins. Heat ghee in a small pan, fry the pine nuts and raisins until dark golden to brown but not burnt. Be careful to remove from the heat soon and transfer to a bowl.
  5. Open the pressure cooker only after it is cooled down. Check the doneness of the meat and cook further if required. 
  6. Take a pot in which you planned to make the rice.
  7. Open the pressure cooker and transfer the liquid content into a measuring cup and transfer the meat pieces to the pot. 
  8. Check the measuring cup and add enough HOT water to cook the rice. For every 1 cup of basmati rice I use 2 cups of water - so for 2 and 1/4 cup rice, I need a total of 4 and 1/2 cup liquid. Use only very hot fully boiled water. Pour this stock water into the pot. 
  9. Add the completely drained rice and mix everything well and bring it to full boil. Reduce the flame to low and cover the pot with a tight lid. 
  10. Cook for 5 minutes and open the pot and stir the rice to bring bottom to top and cover again. If you see water at the bottom, then cover and cook for 5 more minutes and switch off. 
  11. Do not be tempted to open. Let it sit for 5 to 8 minutes. Take this time to prepare Dugous, the Arabic tangy chutney.  Blend everything and serve. 
  12. Open and fluff the rice and serve hot with Dugous. 
  13. Wash the fat down with a hot black tea or Kattans! 
Notes: 
  • You can make the entire dish in a pressure cooker, but I am not confident
  • I placed a pan between the pot and flame - to prevent burning and for even heat distribution 
  • I have used lamb shoulder and cooked with bone. Before transferring to the rice pot, I removed all the bones that were meat free. 
  • Use lots of pine nuts and raisins which add more flavour to each bite. 
Bedouin Lamb Rice

If you want to know more about Bedouins, start from here. And then also check what other Muslim Food Bloggers have shared this month! 


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