Tender and Juicy Slow-Cooked Lamb Recipe

If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, you cannot miss out on this fragrant and flavorful Saudi Arabian Slow-Cooked Lamb Recipe that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy. Imagine tender and succulent meat that falls off the bone, infused with an aromatic blend of spices, including allspice, cinnamon, and cardamom, cooked to perfection in canola oil. This recipe will transport you straight to the heart of Saudi Arabia, where lamb dishes reign supreme.

This slow-cooked lamb recipe has been passed down for generations and is a staple in every Saudi household. Whether it’s for a weekend dinner or a special occasion, this dish will take center stage at any table. In fact, this dish is so revered that it is served at weddings as well as Eid al-Fitr, the festival which marks the end of Ramadan.

The traditional method of cooking the lamb involves using an underground oven called “Shuwa” where lamb leg is marinated in a spice blend known as Baharat and then wrapped tightly in banana leaves before being placed in the underground oven. The result is succulent meat with a hint of smokiness infused into each morsel.

My recipe honors the tradition but adapts it for home kitchens by slow cooking on a stovetop instead of burying it in the ground. This recipe achieves the same tenderness and smokey flavors as if it was made in an underground oven while staying true to its roots.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your apron and let’s get to work on creating this masterpiece.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Saudi Arabian Slow-Cooked Lamb
Saudi Arabian Slow-Cooked Lamb

Are you tired of the same old lamb dishes? Do you want to try something new, flavorful, and absolutely delicious? Look no further because this Saudi Arabian Slow-Cooked Lamb recipe is everything you’ve been looking for and more!

Firstly, nothing compares to the aroma of slow-cooked lamb filling your kitchen. It’s the perfect dish for a cozy night in or a special occasion with friends and family. The combination of Arabian spices – ground cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, and saffron – creates a flavor explosion that will make your taste buds dance.

Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can use lamb shoulder bone-in, leg lamb boneless or with bone, or even lamb shanks. Plus, if you don’t like certain vegetables like yellow bell peppers or carrots listed in the recipe, feel free to substitute them with your favorite veggies or simply leave them out. You can also adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more or less black pepper and white pepper.

Finally, this recipe is easy to make but looks fancy enough to impress guests. As long as you have a slow cooker or a Dutch oven, you can create tender and juicy slow-cooked lamb that falls apart with minimal effort. Serve it with basmati rice cooked in golden raisins and pine nuts, topped with caramelized onions for added sweetness and texture.

Trust me when I say once you try this Saudi Arabian Slow-Cooked Lamb recipe, it will become one of your go-to dishes that will satisfy every time!

Ingredient List

 Juicy lamb falling off the bones after hours of slow cooking
Juicy lamb falling off the bones after hours of slow cooking

Ingredients for Slow-Cooked Saudi Arabian Lamb Recipe

For this Saudi Arabian slow-cooked lamb recipe that I learned during my culinary travels, you will need a handful of flavorsome spices and other ingredients that combine perfectly with the tender lamb. Here is the list of ingredients that you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon baharat spice blend (can be found in Middle Eastern markets)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 cups boiling water or enough to cover the lamb in the pot
  • Salt to taste

These ingredients are readily available at most supermarkets or can be found in Middle Eastern markets.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect balance of aromatic spices in every bite
The perfect balance of aromatic spices in every bite

Preparing the Lamb

First, I wash 1.5 pounds of lamb shoulder with cold water and cut it into 2-inch cubes. My secret to tender lamb is to remove as much fat as possible. I season the lamb with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp white pepper.

Next, I heat up a dutch oven with 2 tbsp of canola oil over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Then, I add in the seasoned lamb in batches to sear them on all sides until golden brown. I transfer the seared lamb onto a plate and set it aside.

The Aromatics

In the same pot, I sauté 1 finely sliced onion until translucent. Then, I add 3 minced garlic cloves and continue cooking for 1 minute or until fragrant.

After that, I add in 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, 1 roughly sliced large yellow bell pepper, and 1 peeled and chopped carrot.

Slow Cooking the Lamb

I incorporate back the seared lamb into the pot along with the vegetables. Then, I add in 4 cups of boiling water, 2 teaspoons of baharat, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 6 crushed cardamom pods, and a pinch of powdered saffron.

I bring everything into a boil then cover it with a tight-fitting lid and set it over low heat to cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serving Suggestions

Once done, my slow-cooked lamb looks irresistible with its perfect combination of savory flavors from aromatic spices and vegetables. I prefer serving my saudi arabian slow-cooked lamb on top of a fluffy bed of cooked basmati rice and garnish it with some toasted pine nuts and sweetened golden raisins for a sweet-savory taste explosion in every forkful.

Substitutions and Variations

 Breaking bread with friends and family over a delicious platter of lamb
Breaking bread with friends and family over a delicious platter of lamb

If you want to add your own twist to the Saudi Arabian slow-cooked lamb recipe, there are many ingredients that you can substitute or add in. Here are some ideas:

1. Vegetables – You can add your favorite vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and green beans for more texture and flavor.

2. Spices – You can use different spice blends or adjust the proportions of spices to suit your taste. For instance, baharat is a commonly used Arabian spice mix that you can switch out for other spice combinations.

3. Rice – Traditionally, basmati rice is used in this recipe. However, you can use jasmine or long-grain rice instead if that’s what you have on hand.

4. Nuts and Dried Fruits – Instead of golden raisins and pine nuts, feel free to experiment with other dried fruits like figs, apricots or dates as well as other nuts like almonds or cashews.

5. Meat – If lamb is not your thing, you can try using beef, chicken or even goat meat as an alternative.

6. Cooking Method – While slow-cooking the lamb in the oven or on a stove-top is traditional, you could also try smoking the meat for more depth of flavor or grilling it for a slightly charred taste.

Remember that these are just suggestions and substitutions based on personal preferences – so come up with your own unique twist on this dish!

Serving and Pairing

 The tender meat simply melts in your mouth
The tender meat simply melts in your mouth

As you slowly uncover the pot in which the lamb has been cooking, you’ll be greeted with the rich and enticing aroma that will guide you through the rest of your meal preparation. This saudi arabian slow-cooked lamb recipe is already a masterpiece on its own, but it can be transformed into something even more magical when accompanied by the perfect side dishes and beverages.

When serving this lamb dish, I recommend that you pair it with fragrant basmati rice or roasted vegetables like carrots and bell peppers. The natural sweetness and crunchiness of these veggies complement the richly flavored lamb, creating an exciting textural contrast that will impress any foodies invited to your table.

Another great pairing option is to sprinkle some golden raisins and pine nuts over the dish to add another layer of texture and flavor. The raisins’ subtle sweetness and nuts’ nutty taste bring a distinctive Middle Eastern flair and balance all remaining flavors into perfect harmony.

In terms of beverages, I suggest pairing this saudi arabian slow-cooked lamb dish with a robust red wine such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon, which has a bold fruity note, an excellent complement for the meat’s intensity. Alternatively, you could brew some traditional Arabic coffee and share it amongst guests before indulging in your feast. That way, your dinner party will not only be delicious but also culturally enriching.

At last, don’t forget to savor every bit of this delicious meal with friends, family or guests in good company, as no pairing beats being surrounded by loved ones seeking for hearty comfort food on a chilly evening or any time of year.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The comforting aroma of slow-cooked lamb filling up your kitchen
The comforting aroma of slow-cooked lamb filling up your kitchen

When it comes to make-ahead dishes, slow-cooked lamb is one of the best options out there. After all, the longer you cook it, the more flavorful and tender it becomes. You can also easily prepare this dish in advance, store it and reheat it for future meals.

To make ahead, let the cooked lamb cool down to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.

When reheating, it’s important to do so slowly and gently to ensure that the lamb remains juicy and tender. You can reheat the lamb in the oven at a low temperature of 300°F (150°C) until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat individual portions in the microwave at 50% power, stirring occasionally.

The accompanying basmati rice can also be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until needed. To reheat rice, add a little water to prevent it from drying out and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or heat in a covered pot over low heat until heated through.

With these tips in mind, you can easily make this saudi arabian slow-cooked lamb recipe ahead of time and enjoy its rich flavors anytime you want with minimal effort in reheating.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Let the slow cooker do the work while you relax
Let the slow cooker do the work while you relax

To elevate your saudi arabian slow-cooked lamb recipe, there are a few things to keep in mind for perfect results. Here are some tips that I’ve picked up from my grandmother and other Middle Eastern chefs:

1. Choose the Right Cut of Lamb

The best cut of lamb for this recipe is the lamb shoulder bone-in (4-5 pounds) or the leg of lamb (1-2 pounds). Bone-in shoulder adds more flavor and moisture to the dish, while the leg is perfect for those who prefer leaner meat.

2. Get the Baharat Spice Mix Just Right

Baharat is a blend of spices commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. The right amount can transform your dish into a flavorful masterpiece. Make sure to follow the recommended measurements in the recipe and adjust it to your personal preferences.

3. Slow-Cook Your Lamb to Perfection

Since we’re going for a melt-in-your-mouth texture with this recipe, slow-cooking your lamb is crucial. Use a slow cooker or cook it on low heat on your stove for at least 4 hours or until it falls apart with a fork.

4. Don’t Skimp on Saffron

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, but it’s an essential ingredient in our segah mandi (saudi arabian slow-cooked lamb). It gives a distinct flavor and aroma that will make all the difference.

5. Don’t Overdo The Salt

While salt is important to bring out the flavors of your lamb, don’t go overboard with it. The baharat mix already contains salt, so be mindful of how much additional salt you add.

6. Let It Rest Before Serving

Once your lamb is fully cooked, let it rest before serving. This allows all of the flavors to meld together perfectly and keeps it tender and juicy!

By following these tips, you’ll have an unforgettable saudi arabian slow-cooked lamb dish that will have everyone asking for seconds!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Saudi Arabian Slow-Cooked Lamb recipe is an exotic and flavorful dish that is sure to impress your guests. With a perfect blend of spices and tender, slow-cooked lamb, this recipe will transport your taste buds straight to the Middle East. Whether you’re looking for a fancy dinner party dish or a special meal to share with your loved ones, this recipe has got you covered.

So why not take a culinary adventure and try out this mouth-watering recipe for yourself? You won’t be disappointed. Trust me, it’s worth it. And who knows? You may even discover a new favorite dish that you’ll keep coming back to again and again.

So go ahead and give it a try – cook up some lamb slow-roasted perfection that will leave your family and guests asking for more. And remember, the beauty of this recipe is its versatility – feel free to add your own twist or variation to suit your taste buds. Don’t forget to serve it with some delicious basmati rice sprinkled with crunchy pine nuts and succulent golden raisins – a heavenly culinary delight that you won’t forget anytime soon!

Thanks for reading – happy cooking!

Saudi Arabian Slow-Cooked Lamb

Saudi Arabian Slow-Cooked Lamb Recipe

This is adapted from 'The Arab Table' - May S. Bsisu. In the book, it is also subtitled as kabsa, but I wouldn't call it kabsa! This recipe looks daunting, but it really is pretty easy. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Feel free to half the recipe as this makes a lot! I did not use as much onions, or as much vegetables as I was running low. I also used normal baharat instead of baharat saudiya, as I didn't have the ingredients for that!
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Calories 1029.1 kcal


For Lamb

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 lbs lamb, pieces
  • 2 3/4 lbs onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon baharat, saudiya
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 10 cups boiling water

For the rice

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 lbs yellow bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 lb frozen peas
  • 2 lbs tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon powdered saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cups basmati rice, picked over, rinsed, soaked and drained


  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, roasted
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin


  • Heat 1/4 cup of the canola oil in a pan, add the onions and sautee until transparent. Add the meat, 2 teaspoons of salt and saudi spices and cook until the meat is brown.
  • Add the boiling water, bring to a boil. Skim the foam from the top, reduce heat to medium-low and cover.
  • Simmer until the meat is tender. About 2 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees farenheit.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a baking dish. Season it with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, cover with foil and place in the oven to keep warm. Keep the stock.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of goil and the butter in a large pot over high heat. Add the carrots, peppers, peas, tomatoes, remaining onions, garlic, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, salt and white pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the rice into the vegetables, and stir until well incorporated. Add the hot stock to the rice mixture, bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Give the rice mixture a quick stir. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Slide a heat diffuser under the pot and lower the heat to the lowest setting. Cook until the rice is fluffy, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • To serve, put the rice on a serving dish, piling it high in the center. Arrange the meat on top and garnish with the nuts and raisins.
  • Serve with daqoos (you can find recipes for this on food.com). I will add my recipe for this later.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 992gCalories: 1029.1kcalCarbohydrates: 100.7gProtein: 46.2gFat: 50.7gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 135.3mgSodium: 1716.2mgFiber: 12.3gSugar: 21.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Middle Eastern
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