Laban Immo Recipe

I had a rare treat this Sunday when Jordon accompanied me to the University to take care of paperwork for his (online) Math course. Only once in a blue moon do we have the opportunity to spend a full (work)day together and we happily shared my office space throughout the day.

We took our lunch break at the campus cafeteria and as we approached the line, we noticed a dish we hadn’t seen before. The title read “Laban Emmo” and we both decided to try it… and instantly fell in love. I’m not sure if it was a misspelling in the cafeteria, but based on my online research this unique Lebanese dish is actually called Laban Immo/Ummo and means “mothers-milk” or “meat stew in yogurt.” My vegan friends, I’m sorry this dish is not for you.

With so many opportunities to eat lamb here, we’re trying to embrace these delicious new recipes in our own kitchen. This evening, I decided to try my hand at Laban Immo by piecing together the recipe from a variety of online sources (since none of them seemed to have the “best” methodology).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

INGREDIENTS:
4 Tablespoons butter
1.5 lbs. lamb
1 cup chopped onions
4-5 peeled small shallots
10 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch of mixed spices (garam masala)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
pepper & salt to taste

COOKED YOGURT SAUCE:
5 cups yogurt
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 teaspoon dried mint
2 tbsp corn flour (mixed with 2 tbsp of water)
1 egg (beaten)

1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Prepare the meat by trimming any excess fat. Cut into 1 inch chunks and season with salt and pepper.

Place a saucepan on medium heat. Add onions, shallots (left whole), and garlic in a slurry of butter and olive oil. Cook while stirring until they are translucent but not brown.

Add lamb cubes, pinch of mixed spices, allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon powder, salt, pepper. Lightly cook lamb on each side.

Add 3-4 cups water to the pot. The water should be barely cover the meet. Bring to a boil on high heat.

Reduce the heat to simmer, partially cover the pot and let cook for about 1 hour until the meat is almost tender.

When there is about 20 minutes left in the cooking of the lamb, begin the yogurt sauce. In another large saucepan, pour yogurt, egg, corn flour and salt.

Put the pan over medium heat and gently stir CONSTANTLY in one direction.

The yogurt sauce needs constant attention and stirring or else it will curdle.

Do this until the yogurt is hot, with steam coming out of it and tiny bubbles appear on the edges. As soon as it start to boil, remove it from the heat.

Add the yogurt sauce to the cooked meat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbsp of butter in another pan: Add garlic and mint and fry for a few minutes.

Stir into the yogurt sauce.

Serve immediately with rice.