Recipe courtesy of Nora Restaurant and Bar

Braised Lamb Shanks with Qabili Palao Rice

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 10 hr (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Lamb Shanks:

4 lamb shanks

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander 

1 teaspoon chopped garlic 

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 plum tomatoes, chopped 

1 medium onion, chopped 

1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped 

Salt and black pepper 

One 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped 

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes 

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon paprika 

Qabili Palao Rice:

3 cups basmati rice, soaked overnight

3 cups reserved lamb stock (from cooking the lamb shanks)

1/2 cup vegetable oil 

3 tablespoons saffron water 

3 teaspoons Seven-Spice Mixture, recipe follows

2 teaspoons crushed cardamom pods

Pinch saffron 

Rice Topping:

1 large carrot, julienned

1/2 cup raisins 

1/4 cup sliced almonds, optional 

1/4 cup pistachios, optional 

3 tablespoons oil 

2 tablespoons sugar 

1 teaspoon ground cardamom 

Pinch saffron 

Seven-Spice Mixture:

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground black cardamom 

1 teaspoon ground green cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground coriander 

1 teaspoon ground cumin 


Special equipment:
a pressure cooker
  1. For the lamb shanks: Place the lamb in a pressure cooker and cover with water by about 2 inches. Add the coriander, garlic, turmeric, plum tomatoes, onions, cilantro and 1 1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Cook at 250 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  3. Release the steam in the pressure cooker, then carefully open it and transfer the lamb to a large pot along with about 2 1/2 cups of lamb juice. Reserve the remaining juice for the rice.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed red pepper, paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper; mix thoroughly. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, adding lamb juice as needed so it doesn't dry out.
  5. For the qabili palao rice: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Boil the rice in water until tender, about 10 minutes. Strain and return to the pot.
  7. Mix together the reserved lamb stock, oil and saffron water in a bowl and pour over the rice. Add the Seven-Spice Mixture, cardamom pods and saffron; mix thoroughly. Cover with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. For the rice topping: Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a pan. Add the carrots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the raisins, almonds and pistachios if using, oil, sugar, ground cardamom and saffron; mix well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Place about half of the rice on a platter and arrange the lamb shanks on top. Cover with the remaining rice and top with the carrot mixture.

Seven-Spice Mixture:

  1. Mix together the black pepper, black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander and cumin in a bowl.
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