Main Meals

Yemenite braised lamb

20 minutes
2½ hours

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  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 x 400 g can tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 8 neck or shoulder of lamb chops (about 1.8 kg), trimmed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 T fresh coriander or parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 190°C and position the shelf in the lower third of the oven.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy ovenproof casserole over a medium-low heat, add the onions and sauté until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic, cumin, turmeric, tomato paste and tomatoes. Remove and set aside two-thirds.

Season the chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Layer in a casserole, scattering some of tomato mixture over each layer and rubbing it into the meat. Add the remaining mixture to the casserole and pour in the water.

Cover tightly and cook for 45 minutes in the oven. Turn the meat, baste and cook for a further hour or until the meat is tender when pierced with a knife. Check occasionally and add water if necessary so the dish does not become dry.

Remove the meat from the casserole, then skim the fat from the sauce. If sauce is too thin, boil it for 3–4 minutes on the hob to reduce slightly. Adjust the seasoning. (The meat can be kept in the fridge overnight. Skim the fat, then reheat the meat in the sauce, covered, in a low oven or over a low heat.)

Add ¼ cup coriander or parsley to the sauce. Serve hot, with some of the sauce spooned over each piece of meat.

Sprinkle with remaining herbs.

Cook's note: Ever since I first came across this recipe in Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook (Ebury Press), I’ve made it often. It’s easy to prepare ahead and can be doubled. Faye is a wonderful food writer and has written more than 20 cookbooks, many of them award-winning. She’s married to a Yemenite Jew and this is one of her mother-in-law’s recipes.

Browse more lamb recipes here.

Phillippa Cheifitz

Recipe by: Phillippa Cheifitz

Regular TASTE contributor Phillippa is a well-known South African author and food writer, and has won many awards, both for her magazine features and her cookbooks.

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  • default
    14 February 2019

    The Yemenite Lamb recipe is described as ‘meat free’. You may want to delete that.

    1. default
      14 February 2019

      Thanks for the heads up, Ester. We’ve ammended the recipe :). Happy cooking!

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