When I saw this recipe for a Pakistani lamb dish from Saveur, I immediately decided to make it.  I’ve never had Pakistani food before, but after trying this out, I’m eager to sit down for dinner at the first Pakistani restaurant I find (although, living in Idaho, this may be a while). It’s as though a rich Indian lamb curry collided with a fragrant North Africa spiced lamb tagine. I adjusted the recipe slightly, based on what was available  in the spice drawer (I’m sure everything would be even better using whole, rather than ground spices). The dish was served with a beautiful side of yellow rice, colored by turmeric in my case, but hopefully saffron in yours. The final result was absolutely one of my favorite lamb dishes ever.

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp crushed red chile flakes
  • 1⁄2 tsp plus 1 tsp turmeric
  • 10 plus 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cardamom (use a combination of green and black cardamom pods if you have them)
  • 2 2″ cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 1 1⁄2″ piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • Lava Lake Lamb shoulder cut into 2–3″ pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3⁄4 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
  • 1⁄4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 2 1⁄2 cups white basmati rice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 2 dried bay leaves

In a dutch oven, or large heavy bottomed pot, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for about thirty minutes, or until dark brown.

Remove onions from pot and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the same pot over medium-high heat. Add garam masala, chile flakes, turmeric, 10 peppercorns, cardamom and 1 cinnamon stick. Cook for about a minute. Add in garlic, tomatoes and ginger. Cook for another 3 minutes.

Add lamb, seasoned with salt and cook for another five minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat and let simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally.

Add fried onions,   yogurt, 1⁄2  cup mint, and 2 tbsp cilantro. Allow to cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered.

Meanwhile, make the rice: Boil 4 cups of water in a separate pan. Add rice, 8 peppercorns, 1 tsp cardamom, 1 cinnamon stick, turmeric, cloves and bay leaves, and salt to taste. Cook rice until tender.

Serve lamb with rice and some fresh mint.