Cookbook Profile

Spiced Lamb with Plums


Serves 4


The cooking of meat with fruit in delicately seasoned sauces is an ancient Persian tradition that has extended throughout the Middle East. In this dish, the flavor of tart plums combines with a number of spices from Indian practice in an unusual and distinctive sauce that goes well with the full flavor of lamb. Choose plums that are firm and just slightly underripe, for the appropriate fruity and acidic effect. The dish is always served with rice.


2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 pound boneless lamb, cut into
   1/2-inch cubes or into strips
1 teaspoon salt
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound (about 5 or 6) firm black or red plums,
   pitted and coarsely chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Chopped fresh coriander leaves, for garnish


1. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet or pot and sauté the onions over moderate heat until the onions wilt and begin to turn golden.

2. Add the lamb and brown lightly, turning to brown on all sides.

3. Sprinkle the lamb with the salt, pepper; ground coriander; ginger; cinnamon, and cardamom. Mix thoroughly, then stir in the tomato paste.

4. Add the chopped plums, mix well, then cover and cook over low heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until the lamb is very tender. Stir the mixture from time to time; if too much liquid evaporates during the cooking, add a small amount of water.

5. When the lamb is tender and the sauce thick, stir in the lemon juice and taste for salt. Garnish the lamb with some chopped coriander and serve with rice.

Buy the Book!  

Crossroads Cooking
The Meeting and Mating of
Ethnic Cuisines—from Burma to Texas in 200 Recipes
By Elisabeth Rozin
Viking Press, June 1999
Hardback, 288 pages, $27.50
ISBN: 0-670-87883-1
Recipe Reprinted by permission.


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This page created September 1999