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Gastro PioneerHami Sharafi

Join our gastro pioneer and Persian food connoisseur Hami Sharafi, aka @igotitfrommymaman, as he walks you through how to create the warming, fragrant Khroesh-e Khalal – a Middle Eastern lamb stew that features almonds, saffron, and barberries. Served with a crispy Persian tahdig, it brings together the best of Middle Eastern flavours, bringing to life some of OPIHR’s signature spices, including the fragrant and earthy black lemons. Hami’s mission is to bring to life dishes that celebrate Persian food and help people uncover new flavours and teach us all that there is more out there to discover!



Want to try at home?

Lamb Stew with Almonds & Black Lemons

Inspired by OPIHR Black Lemon Gin

For the stew:
500g lamb leg or shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
Lamb bones, that come with the meat (optional)
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 tbsp rosewater or 1 tsp rosewater essence, diluted with water
5 tbsp slivered almonds
4 black lemons
4 tbsp tomato paste
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp dried barberries
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp saffron, ground
Salt to taste

For the rice:
400g basmati rice
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp saffron, ground
3 ice cubes
2 tbsp salt


Prep the ingredients
Transfer the slivered almonds to a small bowl. Add the rosewater (or rosewater essence, combined with 5 tbsp water) to it and set it aside until later.

Transfer the ice cubes to a glass. Bloom the ground saffron for both, the stew and the rice, by sprinkling it over the ice cubes. Set it aside in a warm place to melt into saffron water.

Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan and sear the lamb cubes from each side until golden brown. If you have any bones, you can sear them for a few minutes as well. They give the stew additional flavour.
Transfer the meat and optional bones to the pot you’re going to cook the stew in.

Gently caramelise the chopped onions in the same frying pan and oil over medium heat, stirring regularly.
After about 10 minutes add the garlic to the pan and gently caramelise both together for 2 more minutes.

Bring 0.5l of water to boil in a pot or kettle.

Poke the dried limes with a fork, so that the stew can absorb their incredible flavour. Be sure to protect the hand holding the black lemon with multiple layers of kitchen towel or an oven glove. Add the black lemons, tomato paste, turmeric and black pepper to the frying pan with the onions and garlic and briefly sauté everything together.

Then add the freshly boiled water to it. Stir to combine and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer the sauce to the pot with the meat. Bring it to boil, then reduce the temperature to low. Salt to taste.
Put on the lid and let the stew simmer for 1h and 15min. Check regularly if the stew has enough water and taste once in a while to see if it needs more salt.

Prepare the rice
Wash the rice by moving it around in a bowl of water, draining it, adding fresh water, and repeating this process 4 to 5 times until the water remains almost clear.

Bring a full pot of water to boil. Add 2 tbsp of salt and let it dissolve. Then pour in the rice. The temperature of the water will drop. Bring it back to boiling as soon as possible.
Once the water is boiling, let the rice parboil for 5 minutes.
Then drain the rice in a colander and rinse it thoroughly with cold water.

Add 3 tbsp of vegetable oil to a non-stick pot with lid over medium heat. Add the parboiled rice to it in a slight heap shape. Line the lid with a clean kitchen towel and close it firmly.
Reduce the temperature to low and let the rice steam for 45 minutes without opening the lid.

Caramelise the barberries
Rinse the dried barberries in a sieve and let the water drain. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a small frying pan over low to medium heat. Add the barberries, sugar and a few tbsp water to it.
Stir swiftly for about a minute. Remove the caramelised barberries from the pan and set them aside for later.

Finish the stew
After 1h and 15min of letting the stew simmer, remove the almonds from the rosewater. Add the soaked almonds, caramelised barberries and a few tsp of the saffron water to the stew.
Stir the ingredients in and let the stew simmer for a final 15 minutes. Don’t add the remaining rosewater to the stew. You can store it in the fridge for a couple of days and use it in puddings or cake.

Arrange the rice
Once the rice has steamed, transfer a quarter of it to a bowl and add the saffron water to it. Carefully combine both until the rice is evenly yellow.

Transfer the remaining rice to a serving plate. In the bottom of the pot you will find some mouth-watering tahdig, the crispy part of the rice that Iranians fight over. You can serve it separately.

Arrange the yellow rice on top of the white rice.

Serve and enjoy
Serve the mouthwatering lamb stew with the aromatic saffron rice and enjoy!

The Spice Encyclopedia


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