Abu Basti – lamb, squash and tahini

Last night I had Fig over for dinner and Doctor Who. We watched The Romans so, with hindsight I probably should’ve cooked larks’ tongues, baked pomegranate and ants’ eggs in honey, but I didn’t (Sainsbury’s never seem to have ants’ eggs when I look for them!) so I opted for this instead.

It’s from the cookbook Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume and looked like an entertaining recipe – I love a bit of lamb and I had squash in the fridge so I thought that it was ideal. In the end I’d say that the recipe was only partially successful – the lamb and squash were pleasant, as was the accompanying rice, but the sauce – made from cooked yoghurt and tahini – was a bit odd. It wasn’t unpleasant but it was slightly bitter and neither as smooth or as thick as I’d expected. Now, I fully accept that this might be my fault rather than the recipe’s but it doesn’t leave me feeling inclined to make it again. Now I had scaled the amount of yoghurt down from the suggested 700ml to 500 as I was cooking for 2 and not 4 so maybe that was the cause. I also scaled down the amount of tahini from the suggested 2-3 tablespoons to only 1 as I find that tahini can be a little bitter. As the sauce tasted bitter with a third as much tahini as suggested I can only imagine what it would’ve tasted like with the whole lot!

As I say, the faults with the meal may be mine rather than the recipe’s, so give it a go if it sounds like it appeals!

Serves 4

500g of lamb leg, cut into 2cm cubes
30g of ghee or clarified butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
750ml of water
1 squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm cubes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
700ml of plain yoghurt
1 egg yolk
2-3 tablespoons of tahini
150g of Arborio rice

Pre-heat the oven to 200.

In a large saucepan melt the ghee and sauté the lamb cubes, over a medium heat, for 3-4 minutes, until golden.

Add the garlic, onion, bay leaves and water.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 – 1½ hours, until the meat is tender.

Whilst the lamb is cooking, place the squash cubes in a roasting dish, drizzle with the olive oil and roast in the oven until golden. Set aside

Once the lamb is cooked, remove the lamb from the stock with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In a separate saucepan combine the yoghurt and egg yolk and season.
Add a ladle full of the lamb stock and cook for 10-12 minutes over a medium heat, stirring continuously.

Meanwhile cook the rice in the remaining lamb stock and onions, for 15 minutes or so, until tender and the majority of the stock is absorbed. (You may need to add a little more water.)

Add the cooked squash and meat to the cooked yoghurt and then stir in the tahini

Serve with the rice. I also quickly wilted some spinach in some butter in a hot frying pan.


About neilche

Hi. My name's Neil. I live in Brighton with my flatmate (also Neil) and I work as a Librarian at a local college. I like cooking, eating and socialising with friends. Which is what prompted me to start this blog. I cycle everywhere around town - it helps to work off the calories!
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