Karim's Lamb Kabuli Palau


(Serves 8)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1.5kg (4) lamb shanks

  • 2 small onions, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 4 black cardamom pods

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 3 cloves

  • 3 cups (600g) basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1/3 cup (80g) light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • Finely chopped parsley and Cucumber Yoghurt Sauce, to serve



  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • ½ cup (60g) slivered almonds

  • 1/3 cup (40g) pistachios

  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut in to thin batons

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • 1 cup (150g) sultanas



Heat oil in a large pot over medium to high heat. Add the lamb shanks. Cook, turning until browned and sealed on all sides. Transfer shanks to a plate and set aside.

STEP 2.    

Add the onions to the same pot. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until golden. Stir in the garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and cloves. Cook for a further minute or until fragrant.

STEP 3.    

Return lamb to the pot. Coat with the onions and spices. Cover with 2 litres of water or just enough to cover the shanks. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours or until meat is tender and falling off the bone.

STEP 4.    

Transfer lamb pieces to a plate. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Reserve the onion and spices. Return stock to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced by half. Set aside.

STEP 5.    

Fill a large pot with 3 litres of water and place over medium to high heat. Season with salt. Bring to the boil. Add the rice. Cook for 5 minutes or until rice is three quarters cooked. Drain and return rice to pot.

STEP 6.    

Measure 400ml of the stock. Place the sugar into a small non-stick frying pan over medium to high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes or until bubbling and caramelised. Add the stock, cumin and reserved onion and spices. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat.

STEP 7.    

Pour half of the sugar and stock mixture over the rice and gently toss to coat. Remove the lamb from the bone and place on top of the rice. Pour over the remaining sugar and stock mixture.

STEP 8.    

Cover with lid and set over medium to high heat. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until rice is completely cooked through.

STEP 9.    

Meanwhile, to prepare the garnishes, heat half the oil in a small non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the almonds and pistachios. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove.

STEP 10.    

Heat remaining oil in the same pan. Add the carrots and sugar. Cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes or until carrot is softened. Stir in the sultanas. Remove.

STEP 11.    

To assemble, spoon the rice onto a large serving platter. Sprinkle over half the toasted nuts, carrot mixture and lamb. Repeat with remaining rice, lamb and garnishes.

STEP 12.    

Serve sprinkled with finely chopped parsley and Cucumber Yoghurt Sauce on the side.