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Armenian Lamb Pilaf


  • olive oil

  • 300 gm lean lamb, finely diced

  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 chillies, seeded & sliced

  • 1 celery stalk, diced

  • 1 medium carrot, diced

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 tspn cinnamon

  • 2 tspn ground cumin

  • a good pinch of saffron

  • 4 Japanese eggplant, cut into small cubes

  • ¼ cup sultanas

  • 350 ml chicken or vegetable stock

  • 225 gm basmati rice, washed & drained

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

  • plain yoghurt


  • 1.

    Heat a thin layer of oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole (or pot) and brown the lamb all over. Remove.

  • 2.

    Add a little fresh oil, if needed, and gently saute garlic, chillies, celery, carrot and onion until reasonably tender, stirring now and again and adding cinnamon and ground cumin towards the end.

  • 3.

    Then return the lamb, mix well, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 15-20 mins.

  • 4.

    Soak saffron in a little hot water.

  • 5.

    While the lamb is cooking, fry eggplant, in 2-3 lots, in a layer of olive oil until golden. Then drain well on kitchen paper towels.

  • 6.

    Add eggplant, sultanas, soaked saffron, stock, rice and salt to the lamb. Mix well, bring to the simmer and gently cook for about 20 mins, covered, until rice is tender.

  • 7.

    Then mix in the coriander and serve with a good dollop of yoghurt.


If too wet, place a layer of kitchen paper towels on top of the pilaf to soak up any excess moisture, before stirring in the coriander

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