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Weekend Cooking: Lamb Meghazlia Rice

This was on my To-Make list for a while now, and finally I managed to make it this week.  Use a mix of meat and bones for a more flavorful stock; I chose lamb shoulder chops specifically for this purpose.  If you’re not keen on making your own meghazlia spice mix, I’m sure subbing with your favorite spice mix such as bukhari, kabsah and the like works just as well.  A great dish which was quite simple to make and easy to eat, I’ll definitely be making this again.

Try it out!

Based on the recipe by Saudi Food Eman.

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Weekend Cooking: Lamb Haneeth with Rice

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.

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Weekend Cooking: Pressure Cooker Chicken with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Sausage

After having my morning coffee and having finished this week’s copy of The Edge, I wandered into the kitchen and saw Kak’mbang staring at the chicken she just cut up.  I asked her what was on her mind, and she said she had trouble figuring out what to do with it for lunch today.  I had one recipe sitting in the drafts folder of my blog, waiting to be tested, so I offered to take that problem off her hands.

This dish was hearty and flavorful, and a welcome change after a string of Middle Eastern dishes.  We had this with rice for lunch (and dinner), but I think it would’ve been excellent with crusty bread.  Definitely making this again.

Based on the recipe by Serious Eats.

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Ramadan Cooking: Lamb Makhtoom

It’s almost the end of Ramadan, and I was hoping to cook a few more dishes before I’m no longer allowed to leave work an hour earlier.  I found a YouTube channel called Saudi Food Eman, and I really liked her videos.  This lamb makhtoom looked simple enough to make, and I happened to have some lamb stashed in the freezer from my trip to the market last weekend.

The original recipe called for lamb ribs, but premium lamb French cutlets cost and arm an a leg at B.I.G. (RM200/kg! Ohmigosh!), and the ribs I saw at the market were just too skinny with barely any meat.  Update: I just realized that the correct cut to ask for at my wet market butcher was lamb chops, not ribs.  RM43/kg, not bad at all!  I made this dish again with ribs, and could definitely taste the difference.  The bones added really good flavor to the sauce, and there’s just some strange satisfaction in gnawing juicy meat off the bone.  Don’t skimp on the cilantro, it adds such wonderful dimension to the dish.  

Eman said with lamb chops this dish would only need 10 minutes in the pressure cooker, but I noticed that with my Philips electric pressure cooker, even after 30 minutes it could still use a bit more cooking time.  My first time making this I used lamb shoulder chunks, and I also adjusted the cooking time accordingly.

Another first was using Arabic gum.  In Eman’s video she called it “mystic gum,” but after Googling around I discovered that the word she meant was mastic gum, also known as Arabic gum or Yemen gum.  It is apparently *not* the same as gum Arabic (like, seriously), which is also known as Acacia gum.  I didn’t know this at the time, and I ended up getting both the Arabic and acacia gum.  I used the acacia gum when I made this dish, actually.  Will need to make this again with the Arabic gum proper, to see if there’s any difference in taste.

I loved this dish. The flavor of the tomatoes were nicely infused into the meat, and the cinnamon gave it a lovely sweet aroma.  The tomatoes I had on hand were really small and I had to adjust to what I think the amount should be, but in the end I think there wasn’t enough liquid and the dish turned out a little salty (I still could eat a lot of it though).  Need to make this again to get it right.

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Ramadan Cooking: Chef Ammar’s Mandy Rice with Lamb Shank

Bought a few really nice lamb shanks (and a bunch of other things) from B.I.G. last Friday! They cost a lot more than from the TTDI wet market, but the quality looks top notch.  This weekend was quite busy for me to cook everything I bought, but at least I managed to make this lamb mandy by Chef Ammar.

Chef Ammar has made several iterations of this dish over the years; I even tried out a variation of his recipe a few years back.  This one was from his Ramadan cooking show last year and was a lot easier to follow, with clearer instructions and a more accurate list of ingredients.  I halved the recipe here because there’s only four of us, and modified the recipe a bit to suit my taste.  I also used my Philips HD2139 pressure cooker.

The lamb turned out super tender and flavorful, and the rice was delicious.  I noticed that the 3 lamb shanks fit quite snugly in my electric pressure cooker, so if I want to scale up this recipe for Aidilfitri celebrations, I’ll have to use my larger stovetop one.  In any case, good to know I did them lamb shanks justice!

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Ramadan Cooking: Shorbat el Ads (Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)

Ramadan mubarak, everyone!  Because of the fasting month, we get to leave work an hour early, and this has given me the opportunity to be home early enough to make something for buka puasa.

When Mummy went for her umrah earlier this year, the place she was staying at served a nice lentil soup that she liked very much.  I figured it’d be nice to make her something that she likes, and despite not having much to go by in terms of description (“It’s a nice smooth puree.”), I searched around for possible recipes.  I needed something simple enough which uses fairly common ingredients, so I decided on this highly rated one on BBC Good Food.

This took me two tries to get right.  My first time making this, I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it as written.  While the flavor was very nice, the lentils weren’t tender enough despite the recipe’s reassurance that no pre-soaking was necessary.  I made this again the next day, this time soaking the lentils beforehand and then cooking it using my Philips electric pressure cooker.  The results were wonderful, and Mummy cleaned her bowl with her bread.

Update: Be sure to take your time to sautee the onions.  They should be nicely browned and caramelized after 5 minutes.  Makes a huge difference to the flavor!

A delicious, hearty soup which can be a meal of its own, and very authentic, as verified by my mom.  Give it a try!

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Pressure Cooker Beef Stew with Carrots and Potatoes

During my last trip to the wet market, I bought some beef with the intention of making pot roast for the Round Knights.  Weeks passed, and for some reason or the other I just never got around to do it.  This is becoming a bit of an annoying habit for me now… Anyway, of course the time came for Kak’mbang to start nagging about the amount of space the beef is taking up.  So I decided to get rid of it by using it in another one-pot meal, again using my electric pressure cooker.  I made this stew based on a recipe from Once Upon a Chef.  While I wasn’t wowed the first time tasting it as soon as it was cooked, the flavors really really do develop over time, and in fact this stew was at its best a few days after.  Perfect for busy people who prefer to make their weeknight meals ahead of time.

I served this stew with bread, but this can also be served with buttered pasta if you like.  Enjoy!

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Weekend Cooking: Pressure Cooker Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

Kak’mbang has been yelling at me for leaving the lamb shoulder chops I bought some time ago to just sit in the freezer for ages.  With my crazy work schedule, I honestly have no energy to make anything involving too much work.  I found this recipe on allrecipes.com which got pretty good ratings, and modified it for the pressure cooker using “permissible” ingredients (heh).

By using the pressure cooker the lamb was falling-off-the-bone tender in just one hour.  Flavor-wise Rudy preferred this to the stew, but Kak’mbang liked the stew better.  Looks like I’ll have to make both again from time to time.

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Weekend Cooking: Pressure Cooker Lamb Stew

Tesco was selling lamb shoulder cubes for cheap during the Deepavali festive season, and I figured I’d bring out my pressure cooker and let it see some action.  I based this recipe on one I found on food.com, and it was super easy to make and turned out really yummy.

I love my pressure cooker!

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Pressure-Cooked Chick Peas (Kacang Kuda Rebus)

Some of the yummiest snacks are the simplest, and one of my favorites is boiled chick peas.  For an afternoon snack (and anything in between), boiled chick peas are perhaps a healthier alternative, and I could keep munching on these all day while sipping yummy cups of coffee.  Before the advent of pressure cookers this used to take forever to make, but now we can have these munchies ready within a fraction of the time.  This is how Kak’mbang makes them, apparently based on my (mysterious) Nenek’s recipe.  Enjoy!

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