Bedouin Lamb Rice is a rustic yet rich dish with minimal ingredients. A d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s rice and meat dish with flavours of lamb meat cooked with whole spices. You don't need any special “spice mix” or a ton of sliced onions!
This month’s #MFBChallenge was to cook a meat-based recipe. As Eid ul Adha (Bakrid) is around the corner. Don't hesitate to try this rice dish!
Haven't heard of Bedouins? I learned about them after I came to the Middle East. For the uninitiated, Bedouins are Arabic-speaking nomadic people of the Middle Eastern deserts. Their source of food is from their camels or goats. Hence, dairy products and meat are the most consumed food, along with dates. They consume rice and spices that are mostly imported.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
- Oil/Fat: I always made this using the usual Ghee but recently, tried with Sheep's Ghee and it was even better.
- Whole spices: You will need dried black lime (loomi), cinnamon sticks, cardamoms, and cloves. If you only have the brown loomi, you can still use that. If you don't have any and can't source it, then replace it with some lime juice. Not the same thing but works.
- Meat: I used to make with boneless lamb meat but I started making with bone-in mutton and they taste great too. You can use your favourite meat cuts. The cooking time will differ accordingly.
- Rice: I have used basmati rice and that is the best for a special occasion too. You may use Sella basmati or any rice that you are comfortable cooking. The flavour is from the spices and meat.
- Pine nuts: Optional but highly recommended. I know pine nuts aren't cheap here but if you can bag one during the sale, it adds a different note to Arabic food. I store mine in the freezer because they tend to go rancid in the humid weather.
- raisins: Black or golden works great.
- Veggies: You will need these only if you plannng served with the Arabic salsa, Daqoos or Salata Hara. You will need coriander leaves, ripe tomatoes, garlic, and green chillies.
What to serve with this rice?
Most of the gulf countries have a tomato-based condiment that they serve with rice. Each of them calls it by different names and the most common being Salata Harra. The Saudis call it Dakkous or Daqqus. Add or reduce the items as per your taste. The zing of tomato and lemon with the Bedouin lamb rice is the best combination.
How to make
In simple steps, pressure cook or pot cook the meat with whole spices, add rice and more water as required and cook until done. Fry pine nuts and raisins to garnish. Blend the dakkous ingredients and serve. Tada!
Bedouin Lamb Rice
For lamb stock
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 dried black lime aka loomi.
- 4 cinnamon stick
- 6 green cardamom
- 4 cloves
- 850 grams mutton or lamb (with or without bones) chopped to bite sizes, washed and drained
- Salt to taste
- 4 cups hot water
For Bedouin rice
- 2 cups basmati rice washed and soaked for 30 minutes and drained
- salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- Fresh coriander leaves chopped
For Daqoos or Salata Hara
- 2 ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped
- Fresh coriander leaves
- 1 garlic clove crushed and chopped finely
- 2 green chillies
- lemon juice to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
Fry the garnish items
- Heat ghee in a deep pot or deep pressure cooker on low to medium flame.
- Add the pine nuts and fry until golden brown, remove and keep aside.
- Add the raisins and fry until puffed, remove and keep aside.
Cook the meat
- Heat more ghee if required. Add all of the whole spices and roast on medium flame until fragrant.
- Add the washed and drained meat pieces and brown them with salt on high heat.
- Cook the meat uncovered on high heat stirring occasionally until you don't see any moisture.
- Add hot water and cover the pot or the pressure cooker.
- Pressure cook on a medium flame for 5 to 6 whistles and let the pressure cool on its own. Check the doneness of the meat and cook further if required. Pot cooking may take more time so cook until the meat is done.
Prepare Salata Hara
- Blend the ingredients together in a blender just enough to break down the tomatoes but not too smooth. Adjust the salt and lime juice.
- Open the pressure cooker or pot, stir in the drained rice and add more hot water only if required. (the best way to determine is to make sure there is at least an inch of water above the rice.) and bring this to a full boil on high heat. Boil on high until the rice comes to the surface.
- Reduce the flame to low and cover the pot/pressure with a tight lid. (don't need to put the weight on the pressure cooker).
- Cook for 5 to 8 minutes and switch off. Do not be tempted to open it. Let it sit for 8 to 10 minutes unopened so that the rice steam cooks.
- Open and fluff the rice and then transfer to a serving platter, garnish with fried nuts, raisins and fresh coriander. Serve hot with prepared Dugous or Salata haraa.
- You may place a heat diffuser pan between the pot and flame - to prevent burning and even heat distribution.
- You may increase the rice quantity to up to 4 cups. I have used 2 cups for 850gms of meat because we like to eat less rice and more meat.
Recipe adapted from Saudi food Eman YouTube channel