The citrus notes of sumac and mandarin beautifully complement the rich lamb. This may look like lots of ingredients but once you’ve built and pantry full of aromatic spices, you’ll use them time and time again.
One of my food heroes is Yotam Ottolenghi, I love his bold use of interesting flavour combinations and the mejadra from his Jerusalem cookbook has inspired this comforting side-dish. You can buy fried shallots from most Asian supermarkets or fry your own.
1 lamb shoulder (about 2.5kg), bone in
2 tbsp each cumin and coriander seeds
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp ground sumac
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, cardamom, chilli flakes and allspice
Grated rind and juice of a lemon
Glug of olive oil
Large bunch each of chopped mint and coriander
4 red onions, cut into wedges
4 mandarins, cut in half
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 170C. Coarsely crush cumin and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle. Add garlic and crush coarsely. Transfer to a bowl with sumac, chilli flakes, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and rind. Stir in oil and herbs, season to taste, then set aside.
Scatter onions over the base of a large roasting pan, drizzle with oil and season to taste. Place lamb on top of onions and pat spice mixture on lamb to form a crust. Arrange mandarins around lamb, then pour stock in pan and cover with foil. Roast until very tender and falling from the bone (5-6 hours).
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1½ tbsp coriander seeds
1 cup long grain rice
1¼ cup water
400g cooked lentils
½ tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt Black pepper
½ cup crunchy Asian fried shallots
Put the olive oil, cumin seeds and coriander in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil and spices. Add the water and lentils. While it comes to boil, add all the other spices, salt and pepper. When it comes to a boil, turn it down to medium-low, cover with lid and let cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until all the liquid has mostly been absorbed.
Remove from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes – during this time, any extra liquid will absorb. Just prior to serving, stir through the fried shallots.
Garnish with extra shallots, coriander, and serve with a dollop of yoghurt.