If you ever find yourself near a Yemeni restaurant, definitely go in. We recently discovered this unique and wonderful cuisine from a local restaurant here in Malaysia and it soon became our favorite take out spot. A mixture of Middle Eastern with Indian flavors and influences here and there and very LARGE pieces of bread to go with it all: we were straightaway in love with Yemini food and obscenely full!
Obviously, that kind of flavor combination inspired me to do my own experimentation. Humble ingredients like butter beans, potatoes, tomatoes, carrot and celery are stewed in the most vibrant combination of spices and juicy lamb. The end result puts all of my other rainy day stews to shame.
For this recipe you can use any cut of lamb you fancy. However, I prefer to use lamb shoulder since its got the right amount of fat with the added bonus of bones that simmer in the sauce. If you are less primal than me and don’t like gnawing meat off the bone, go with something boneless. Just don’t skimp on the spice!
Chop the lamb up into similar sized pieces as best as you can. Keep the bones.
Dice the onions and mince the garlic. Chop the carrot, celery, red bell pepper and potato into bite sized pieces about 1 inch/ 2 cm big.
Use good quality spices as best as you can. I prefer to toast cumin seeds and coriander seeds then grind them myself in a spice mill, mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.
Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large pot and cook over high heat. Add cloves and cinnamon stick and let fry in the oil for a minute or so, then add the lamb and lamb bones. Lightly season with salt and pepper and cook until browned on all sides. Remove lamb and spices from pot, place on a plate and set aside.
In the remaining oil, add 2 tbsp of butter and cook over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, potatoes, and red bell pepper. Lightly season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft.
Once vegetables have softened, add turmeric, cumin, coriander and cardamon. Stir and cook until fragrant (about a minute or so)
Add lamb (with cinnamon stick and cloves) and stir to combine.
Turn heat to high, add chicken stock and crushed tomatoes.
Wash and drain canned broad beans.
Once at a boil, add beans, turn heat down to low/medium low and cook at a simmer.
Cook until lamb is tender and stew is to your desired consistency (about 1 hour).
Garnish with chopped cilantro and a crusty bread when ready to serve.