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Photography By : Katie Wilson
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Mukloubi bi lahmi – upside-down lamb cake

Dishes Created By

  • The Hampstead Kitchen
  • Serves Eight


For the main part of the dish

  • 1kg lamb loin cut into 2cm cubes with the fat trimmed
  • 700g aubergines cut into ¼inch-thick slices
  • 50g seven spice mixture (see below)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • a few glugs of vegetable oil
  • 50g clarified butter
  • 500g long-grain rice (wash the rice at least 5 times until the water is clear, then soak for a minimum of 30 minutes)
  • 90g pine nuts

For the Syrian spice mixture

  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp group cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ground allspice berry
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions

  1. Cut the aubergines into slices, cover with cold water and salt. Soak for half an hour, then place on sheets of clean kitchen paper and leave to dry for a few hours. I usually do this overnight.
  2. In a pan, combine the lamb with the spice mix, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and salt.
  3. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook on a slow heat for about 2 hours until the lamb is soft and tender. I use a pressure cooker to speed this process along in only 45 minutes.
  4. In another pan, heat the vegetable oil, make sure it is sizzling hot and then fry the aubergine, leaving the cooked slices on kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil.
  5. Heat the butter in a deep pan, making sure that it doesn’t brown, then stir in the rice and ensure it is coated in butter.
  6. In a casserole dish, add a layer of the lamb (but leave the lamb stock to one side) then build up alternating layers of rice, aubergine and then more lamb.
  7. Pour over the lamb stock so that the rice is covered.
  8. Cover with a tightlysealed lid, and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes, until you see the rice swell up and the liquid reduce.
  9. In another pan, fry the pine nuts with the remaining butter and dry them out on sheets of kitchen paper.
  10. Put a flat serving dish under the casserole dish and flip the dish upside down.
  11. Scatter the pine nuts over the top and serve with natural yoghurt.

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