The textures and taste of this traditional Iraqui rice dish make it a special one with Samira’s family. In this recipe it is important to dry fry the spices in order to develop the flavours, and she says it will set up the aromas to whet any appetite.
- 3 cups Basmati rice
- ½ cup pistachios
- 6 lamb chops
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 tomato, diced
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 carrots, grated
- ½ cup sultanas
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp ground cardamon
- ½ cup slivered almonds
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time: 1 hour
Soak the rice in water for an hour before using.
Meanwhile, remove skins from pistachios by soaking in boiling water for 5 minutes, which will allow the skins to slip off.
Preheat oven to 200ºC. In a large saucepan, place the lamb chops, onion and tomato and cover with water. On a low heat cook until the chops are tender.
Divide the oil between two pans, add the carrots to one and sultanas to the other, and cook gently for about 10 minutes until carrots are soft and the sultanas are plump. Drain, keep separate and save the oil.
When the lamb is cooked, remove from the stock which should be kept. Place the lamb in an oven tray and sprinkle with the combined cumin and cardamom. Bake for 15 minutes to complete the cooking.
Drain the rice and boil in plenty of salted water until it is almost cooked; it should be firm when you squeeze a grain to test. Drain the rice, and return to the saucepan.
Pour over the rice the lamb stock and the oil from the carrots and sultanas.
Place a tea towel over the pot and cover with a lid, and cook for a further 15 minutes or so until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
To serve the dish, place half of the rice on a large platter. Put the lamb chops on top of the rice and then cover the lamb with the remainder of the rice. Garnish the rice with the carrots which are positioned around the edge of the rice, then the sultanas are layered on top, then the pistachios, and then the almonds until the entire dish is decorated.
Serve with a salad made of finely chopped tomatoes, parsley, coriander, chilli, finely chopped red onion and cucumber.