During holiday season we usually do all the festive things that are the 'norm' with most people, but we also go all out with Arabic dishes that are to me, just sublime. There is not taste like home, and that is what this dish is. SUBLIME. My mother can cook wonderful things out of anything, and i hope that i have inherited the same quality. Our cooking back home from Palestine is mainly using quite basic ingredients in such a way that leaves you wanting more and more. When my mother wants our attention, which we give her gladly, all she has to do is mention this particular dish. Fatet Lahmé. You can do this dish with Aubergines, chickpeas, chicken, lamb etc.. It really is very versatile, and works great in each way.
This dish in particular is made up of just a few ingredients that mesh so well together that you almost wonder how you didn't come up with it yourself. Thats what i always think..... Why didn't i invent this dish!
So a few weeks ago, actually a few couple of months ago Ramadan ended and my mum called us for Eid dinner. This was on the menu. We ran and ate faster than we could think. Of course she never makes enough and because we are super greedy we leave unsatisfied, temporarily.
This dish is made up of layers and MUST be eaten straight away due to the hot liquid stock and yoghurt that is poured over the crisp pita bread. So be warned.
Egyptian rice or Basmati rice
250g minced lamb
5-6 thick pita bread
2 tubs Yoghurt
3 cloves garlic
2 green chillies
salt and pepper
- Begin by boiling the lamb neck in salted water with about 10 cardamom pods and leave to boil for about 1.5 hours
- Cook off the minced lamb which should be well seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook till browned very well
- Add the rice and toast for a minute or so.
- Add the water and boil as you would normally. Taste the water to see if you have season enough. You should be able to taste all the flavours.
- While all this is going on in the background make your yoghurt sauce.
- Empty two tubs of yoghurt, grate 3 cloves of garlic and beat the chilli adding it to the yoghurt.
- Add a squeeze of lemon and salt to taste. It should be tart, garlicky, lemony and salted.
- Put in the fridge to marinate. This will make the dish super delicious.
- Cut pita into diagonal shapes and place in the oven to toast. My mum likes to fry them but i try to be a little less calorific, and it still tastes wonderful.
- Once toasted take out an leave to cool
- Once all the food has cooked, begin placing it in order.
- Toasted pita is first.
- Next take the stock of the lamb and mix it in with the yoghurt mix. Not too much as you want to keep the flavour of both. This should be be passed through a sieve Once all has been poured over quickly spoon over the rice and then add the shredded lamb neck. Top with chopped parsley and eat straight away.
The flavour of the lamb which is quite rich in its own right, with the mince and rice, which is smooth hitting the tangy yoghurt and crunchy pita makes all the senses boom in your mouth. This dish is just wonderful and for me is very special as it reminds me of my mother first and foremost and also my family as it is one dish we only eat when we are together.
I made this for my friends with chicken, and i was a little apprehensive at first, because i didn't know if they would understand the flavours or the look, but it was devoured within minutes.
I hope you enjoy this and if you make it please let me know what you think.