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Laban Ummu

Real.Stew's picture
Laban ummu means “his mother’s milk,” the implication of the name being that the young lamb is cooked in its mother’s milk. This Palestinian preparation is also popular in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. But this business of the mother’s milk is just a method of cooking and does not have any religious or social connotation. This Levantine Arab stew finds the lamb meat slowly simmered in yogurt. The best kind of cut to use for this recipe is lamb shank, which is a banana-shaped meat that runs the length of the shin bone and is very succulent and tender when stewed for a long time. Of course you can use any lamb stew meat if you don’t want to be bothered cutting the meat off of the length of the shank. Also remember that cow’s milk yogurt will separate when cooked, so it must be stabilized by following the method in step 1. Goat’s milk yogurt on the other hand will not separate.
  Whole plain yogurt 1 Quart
  Egg white 1 Large, beaten
  Cornstarch 1 Tablespoon
  Salt 1 Teaspoon
  Boneless lamb stew meat 1 Pound, cut into 2-inch cubes
  Water 1 Quart
  Salt 2 Teaspoon
  White onions/Red/white pearl onions, peeled and left whole 1⁄2 Pound, peeled and halved or quartered (Small Variety)
  Clarified butter/Unsalted butter 2 Tablespoon
  Garlic 2 Clove (10 gm), finely chopped
  Dried mint 2 Teaspoon

1. In a saucepan, beat the yogurt with a fork until smooth, then beat in the egg white, cornstarch and salt. Put the saucepan over high heat and start stirring in one direction with a wooden spoon. As soon as it starts to bubble in about 6 minutes reduce the heat to medium and boil gently until it is thick, about 5 minutes. Set aside until needed.
2. Put the lamb in a casserole and cover with the water. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and add 2 of the white onions or a handful of the pearl onions. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the lamb is very tender, about 3 hours.
3. Place the stabilized yogurt in a casserole or stewpot large enough to hold the lamb and onions. Boil the remaining onions separately in a large saucepan with water to cover until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove and stir into the yogurt.
4. Remove the lamb from the pot with a slotted ladle and transfer, with the onions, to the yogurt. Place over medium heat and keep warm, just below a boil, stirring a few times.
5. In a small skillet, melt the clarified butter over medium heat, then add the garlic, mint, and remaining teaspoon salt, and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add to the yogurt and cook until heated through, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Image and Recipe © Clifford A. Wright

This recipe is excerpted from the book Real Stew by Clifford A. Wright. For more information or to purchase the book, please visit CliffordAWright.Com

Recipe Summary

Side Dish

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Nutrition Rank

Nutrition Facts

Serving size

Calories 555 Calories from Fat 348

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 39 g60%

Saturated Fat 20 g100%

Trans Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 131.4 mg43.8%

Sodium 1653.9 mg68.9%

Total Carbohydrates 22 g7.3%

Dietary Fiber 1.8 g7.2%

Sugars 13.5 g

Protein 29 g58.7%

Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 10.3%

Calcium 35.8% Iron 23.7%

*Based on a 2000 Calorie diet

Laban Ummu Recipe