You may have noticed that I call my mothers cuisine ‘Arabic’. That is because while many of her dishes are Lebanese in the sense we use it in Australia (though she is not of Leb descent), they are also eaten by much of the middle east, with some variation between countries and different religions too.
As a kid, I always translated this dish in my head as meaning ‘my mother’s yoghurt’. This is because Immo sounds a lot like immi (mother). As I got older I realised this translation was wrong (and also a bit gross if I thought about it too long). Anyway I digress.
This is an easy winter stew, the hardest part being the continuous stirring of the yoghurt until it boils. My husband and I fight over this sometimes as he thinks I could just turn it up on high heat and walk away without stirring. This would curdle the mixture but as he hasn’t actually seen it curdle (despite him doing this on the sly sometimes) he doesn’t believe me.
Anyway here is the recipe, and if you try it please, stir it continuously until it boils
Laban Immo (Arabic Yoghurt and Lamb stew)
Serves 4, serve ladled over rice
500 grams of diced lamb
1 onion, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
Tin of chickpeas, drained
1 1kg tub of yoghurt
1 teaspoon Curry powder
For the yogurt broth. Into a large saucepan, empty the tub of yoghurt, fill the tub with water and add it to the pot. Add egg, salt, pepper, curry powder and then wiz up with a stick blender or whisk until thoroughly combined. Put it on a hot plate and slowly heat up, continuously stirring with a wooden spoon, until it boils. Once it boils (simmers really, we don’t want it to be rapidly boiling), the danger of the broth curdling is past.
Meanwhile, or after, or before (depending on if you have help), cook the lamb. For this, fry the lamb in a pan in oil until browned and then add hot water to cover and bring to a slow boil. Add salt, pepper, mixed spice, cinnamon stick if you like, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Drain the lamb and add to the yoghurt broth.
Add chickpeas, onion and lamb and let simmer in the yoghurt broth about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Fry the garlic in a good slug of oil until golden but not burnt. Add to the stew, stir and then serve over rice. The garlic really brings the whole thing together.