Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato

This is an adoption of the layered rice recipe known as Istambooli Polow. At first glance it does sound like a carb-on-carb sin, with its combination of potato and rice, but don’t judge it until you have tried it. Turkey also works well instead of lamb. The origin of the recipe is Turkey and it’s served there already for hundreds of years in all kind of variations. In Israel this dish is also available mainly in Turkish restaurants.

It will take you about 2 hours to have this dish finished to be served on the table. If you want, you can replace the lamb with turkey (no pun intended).


  • 120ml/4fl oz/½ cup sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped, plus 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g/1lb 2oz boneless lamb (preferably leg), fat trimmed off and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 2 tsp Advieh 1 (see page 211)
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 500g/1lb 2oz large tomatoes, deseeded and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 500g/1lb 2oz waxy potatoes, peeled, one half cut into 1cm/½in cubes, the other half sliced length ways into long thin ovals about 3mm/⅛ in thick
  • Parboiled Rice
  • chopped mint leaves, to sprinkle
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Greek yogurt or kashk, to serve

    Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
    Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over a medium–low heat, add the chopped onion and sauté for 4–5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, lamb, spices, tomato purée/paste and tomatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add 115ml/3¾fl oz/scant ½ cup water, or enough to cover the other ingredients, then increase the heat to high and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer gently for 1 hour or until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the potato cubes.
  6. Place a 2l/70fl oz/8-cup non-stick saucepan with a 20cm/8in base over a medium heat, and pour in 5 tablespoons of the oil.
  7. Once the oil is sizzling, arrange the potato slices across the base (they can overlap slightly), then sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the lamb and tomato mixture, followed by a layer of rice.
  8. Continue alternating layers of lamb and rice, building it up into a dome shape.
  9. The last layer should be rice.
  10. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make three holes in the rice all the way to the bottom, being careful not to puncture the potatoes.
  11. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean dish towel and tie it into a tight knot at the handle, then use it to cover the pan as tightly as you can so that steam doesn’t escape. (The dish towel will prevent the moisture from dripping into the rice, making it soggy.)
  12. Cook the rice over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the rice is steaming (you will see puffs of steam escaping at the edges of the lid), then reduce the heat to low and cook for 20–25 minutes, with the lid on all the time.
  13. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium– low heat, and fry the sliced onion until crispy and golden.
  14. Serve the rice and tahdeeg
  15. Sprinkle with mint and serve with yogurt and the fried onion rings.
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato
Lamb Rice with Crispy Potato

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