Yemeni Lamb and Lentil Stew

Ever since my sister gave me a cook book on middle eastern food back in the dark ages, I’ve been making this recipe. It was one of the first cook books that really stretched my imagination on ingredients and cooking methods that did not stem from a traditional german/french influence. It is called From the Lands of Figs and Olives: Over 300 Delicious and Unusual Recipes from the Middle East and North Africa by Habeeb Salloum and you can find it easily online.


Yemeni Lamb and Lentil Stew

Prep Time 30 minutes • Total Time 2 hours
Difficulty Level:


Serves 10

This recipe is going to really test your knife skills. Or rather, help you practice them. You have a pile of tomatoes and onions to cut up in addition to a whole bunch of cilantro and lamb to cut into tiny tiny pieces. Prep all your veggies and make your mise en place before you begin so you can cruise through the steps once you get going.

Once everything is in place,

  1. Boil the lentils in the water for 15 minutes and set aside
  2. Heat olive oil in the frying pan until it’s shimmery and hot and then brown the lamb.
  3. Add onions, garlic, and coriander to the pan with the browned lamb and sauté for around 10 minutes on high heat, letting the onions brown slightly.
  4. Add the tomatoes and fry for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato lamb and onion mixture to the pot with the lentils and bring to a boil. Add the salt and spices and reduce heat to a simmer, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until lamb is tender. Don’t overcook or the lentils will break down into a mush. It will still taste good but the texture will not be as nice.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

This is a great recipe for freezing, so make a bunch ahead of time to take with you through the work week.








  • 2 cups lentils black or traditional
  • 12 Cups Water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb Lamb, cut into very small pieces
  • 4 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro (2 bunches)
  • 4 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Allspice Ground
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Cayenne Powder or other spicy chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper To taste