This is a Syrian lamb and vegetable stew made in layers and served with steamed rice or bulgur. My Damascene sister-in-law recently showed me how to make this. It is delicious. The addition of ghee or semneh at the end of the cooking is a traditional Damascene style of cooking; however, these days these dishes are made without the extra fat.

ALMALOU

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Recipe Summary

prep:
40 mins
cook:
1 hr 15 mins
total:
1 hr 55 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 servings
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist
Spice Mix:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat the ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat and stir in the lamb meat. Cook and stir until evenly browned. Season with allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom and mix well.

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  • Place a layer of onion on top of the lamb in the pot, but do not stir. Top with layers of potato, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes.

  • Repeat the layers of vegetables until you have used them up, ending with tomatoes on top. Place the chile pepper in the center of the tomatoes. Season with salt. Dilute the tomato paste in the water, and pour it over the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour, until vegetables are tender.

  • With a mortar and pestle, crush together the garlic, a pinch of salt, and the dried mint. Mix with 2 tablespoons of liquid from the pot, and drop by spoonfuls over the vegetables in the pot, but do not stir. Simmer for 5 minutes more.

  • Transfer the stew to a wide bowl or serving dish by gently tipping the pot and letting it slide out into the serving dish, while maintaining its layers. Sprinkle with ghee, if desired.

Cook's Notes:

Use freshly-ground spices and then store them in a tightly covered jar. I use 1 part ground allspice, 1 part ground cinnamon, 1/2 part ground cloves, and 1/2 part ground nutmeg. Measure in teaspoons, ounces, or grams. I use 2 to 3 teaspoons for this recipe.

Serve with rice or coarse burghul made with vermicelli (shayariya). It is also very good with frikeh.

Nutrition Facts

174 calories; protein 11.5g 23% DV; carbohydrates 21.3g 7% DV; fat 5.8g 9% DV; cholesterol 34.9mg 12% DV; sodium 53.7mg 2% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (15)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
03/21/2005
This was absolutely delicious!! I used a larger quantity of spices and it turned out really well. I shall definately be making it again. Read More
(33)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
04/25/2006
This really didn't work for me. I'm at a loss as to how so many wonderful ingredients can end up tasting so well bad. It smelled fabulous while cooking but tasted flat. I might have done something wrong (not sure how but possible) since I'm not familiar with Damascene dishes - I found this recipe looking for a dish to use up zucchini and lamb. Anyway I won't be making again. Read More
(27)
20 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 11
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
03/21/2005
This was absolutely delicious!! I used a larger quantity of spices and it turned out really well. I shall definately be making it again. Read More
(33)
Rating: 2 stars
04/25/2006
This really didn't work for me. I'm at a loss as to how so many wonderful ingredients can end up tasting so well bad. It smelled fabulous while cooking but tasted flat. I might have done something wrong (not sure how but possible) since I'm not familiar with Damascene dishes - I found this recipe looking for a dish to use up zucchini and lamb. Anyway I won't be making again. Read More
(27)
Rating: 4 stars
02/06/2005
This stew has wonderful flavours and I will definitely make it again mainly because it so tasty and also because of it's low fat content. I found it to be a bit watery though but I may have cooked it too long. Read More
(25)
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Rating: 4 stars
09/03/2006
I give this recipe four stars because it is delicious but i did add a few things: a dash of lemon juice about 2 tbsp curry powder. I fried the lamb and eggplant on the stove layered the whole thing in a casserole dish WITH one cup uncooked rice mixed with hot water divided and baked in oven at 425 for about an hour. TALK ABOUT YUM YUM YUM!! Read More
(24)
Rating: 5 stars
02/24/2007
I sustituted canned Italian tomatoes for fresh cut them up right in the can. This is a keeper! The lamb gets melt in your mouth tender. The aroma is fabulous! A bit tricky turning this out of the pot while retaining the layers (I failed). Different easy delicious. Read More
(21)
Rating: 5 stars
09/20/2006
The flavor was wonderful. I'm always trying to find ways to make things lower in fat so instead of using ghee I cooked the lamb in chicken broth. I failed miserably at keeping the stew in layers. I couldn't get the broth from the bottom to wash the extra spices down in the stew so I just stirred it all up. I also had 2 eggplants but no zuchini so I used all eggplant. It could have been a little spicier but since I make everything way spicy I figured it was a welcome break for my family. Read More
(19)
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Rating: 5 stars
10/13/2009
This is one of the best dishes I've ever made. The mint really adds dimension. I followed the recipe exactly except I skipped the chili pepper and didn't bother to transfer it to a serving dish. I will definitely make this again! Read More
(18)
Rating: 5 stars
10/11/2010
This was very delicious! I wasn't sure how I would like the eggplant in it because I usually don't care for eggplant but it was great. The only change I made was that I used a common Middle Eastern spice mix that I had in the cabinet instead of the individual spices. I made it on the stovetop as the recipe called for but I'm pretty sure it would be just as great in the oven as well. Thanks for sharing. Read More
(17)
Rating: 5 stars
09/11/2009
Fabulous. The lamb was so tender. I was planning to have leftovers but it was so good we ate the whole thing. Read More
(15)
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