During a rare trip to Berkat Madinah, a Middle Eastern grocer, I bought a jar of Chef Ammar’s haneeth spice. We love the haneeth served at Half Moon, our favorite Arab restaurant, so I figured I’d try making it on my own. However recipes I found online were very different from what I thought haneeth looks like, because most are roasted in the oven, instead of being nicely baked in aluminium foil pouches.
The jar of spices has been sitting in the larder for a while now, so when I had the family over for dinner recently I made lamb and chicken haneeth. The chicken turned out really well, however I really had to experiment with the lamb recipe, because most require hours of roasting in the oven and I really couldn’t be bothered with that. I expect to keep improving on this recipe, but for my first try I cooked the meat in the pressure cooker first, before transferring to the oven. Flavor wise I think it was good, but I think the rice could be better. Will keep tweaking this until I get it right.
Lamb Haneeth with rice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 1/2 tablespoon Chef Ammar’s haneeth spices
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 kilogram lamb leg or shoulder steaks
- A few banana leaves (optional)
- 6 kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut), midrib and stalk removed (optional)
- 11 cloves garlic
- 3 large onions, 1 sliced and 2 finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, sliced into rings
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- 1 beef stock cube
Rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over the meat. Season with 2 tablespoons Haneeth spice and 1 tablespoon salt.
Season with 2 tablespoons Haneeth spice and 1 tablespoon salt. Toss to coat evenly.
In a large frying pan over medium high heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the lamb and sear the sides until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
If using, line the bottom of your pressure cooker pot with half of the banana leaves. Scatter half of the kaffir lime leaves.
Arrange 3 cloves garlic, half of the sliced onions, bell pepper and tomato in an even layer at the bottom of the pot.
Place the browned lamb pieces on the bed of veggies.
Cover with another 3 cloves garlic, and the remaining sliced onions, kaffir lime leaves, bell pepper and tomato. Cover with the remaining banana leaves, if using.
Add half cup of water into the pot.
Cover the pot and cook, using the Beef/Mutton setting, 35 minutes.
When the pressure cooker timer is up, release the pressure from the pot using the quick release valve. Safely remove the lid.
Preheat your oven, using the broiler setting if available, to 180 degrees C (fan 160 degrees C). Carefully transfer the lamb pieces onto a roasting tray.
Place the tray in the oven for 10 minutes.
Using a strainer, filter out the contents of the pot into a large measuring jug. Skim the fat off for use in the rice.
In the measuring jug containing the reserved broth, add enough water to make 4 1/2 cups.
While the lamb roasts, make the rice. In a large pot or your rice cooker pot, heat the fat you skimmed from the broth. Add more olive oil if necessary, to make about 3 tablespoons.
Add the remaining 5 cloves garlic and cook, stirring, until golden.
Add the finely chopped onions and green chillies and cook, stirring, until onions are soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of haneeth spice and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Be careful not to let the mixture burn.
Add the rice and gently stir to combine.
Add the diluted broth mixture. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the beef stock cube and stir to combine.
Cover and cook undisturbed, until all the liquid has evaporated, 25 to 30 minutes. If using a rice cooker, transfer the pot to your rice cooker to finish cooking.
When the liquid has mostly evaporated, gently give it a few turns.
Serve with the roasted lamb.