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Roasted Persian-style lamb shoulder with easy rice-cooker saffron rice

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Each mouthful of this soft, off-the-bone lamb is packed with stunning, complex flavours. Contrary to the cooking time, it’s a very low maintenance recipe that you can leave it in the oven and cook it untouched for mostly the whole duration. Once finish, you’re left with this tender lamb and beautifully fluffy golden rice to serve. I made this recipe on a workday – it’s that easy! Working from home meant I popped this in the oven at around 3pm, and it was ready by 6.30 for dinner.
March 1, 2021




  • 1 lamb shoulder portion
  • 1 tbsp each sumac, ground cumin, ground coriander, kosher sal
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground green cardamom, and ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp each finely chopped mint leaves and coriander
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced and finely zested
  • 1 dried lime, pierced in several places with tip of your knife (also known as black lime)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock or water
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely diced. 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter. 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 green cardamom pods, crushed with the back of your knife
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 rice cooker cups basmati rice, washed and drained (equivalent to 3/4 standard cup). 1.5 rice cooker cups chicken stock (equivalent to 3/4 standard cup)
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries. 1 tbsp dried raisins or sultanas
  • 2 tbsp each roughly chopped pistachios and almonds, plus more to serve. 2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves, plus more to serve
  • Greek yoghurt to serve



Preheat oven to 160c (140c fanforced). In a bowl, mix together all the lamb spice ingredients, except for the lemon juice. Set aside.


Add quartered onions in a single layer into the centre of a Dutch oven pot. Lay lamb, skin side up, onto the onions and pat the spice mixture onto it and on the sides to form a crust.


Pour chicken stock into the bottom on the pot, so that it is not touching the lamb. Add lemon juice into the stock and drop in the pierced dried lime


Cook covered for 3 hours undisturbed. Once 3 hours has passed, baste the lamb with the sauce and allow to cook uncovered for an additional 30 minutes


Once lamb has finished cooking, remove from oven and use a fork to shred the meat. Skim the fat from the sauce and discard. Spoon over some of the remaining sauce onto the shredded lamb. Serve with the saffron rice, extra mint, nuts, and Greek yoghurt if desired.


Meanwhile, in your rice cooker on a “fast cook” setting, or a separate pan, heat ghee and olive oil


Add in onion, garlic, cardamom and turmeric and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes until onion until softened


Stir in the rice, close the rice cooker lid and cook on a normal setting until done. If using a saucepan to cook the rice, follow instructions on the rice packet for absorption method.


Once cooked, pour over the saffron and water, add dried berries, nuts and mint


Stir briefly to combine, and allow to sit in the rice cooker on warm setting for an additional 20-30 minutes











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About the author

Vivien is a Melbourne-based home cook who enjoys cooking for her friends and family. She also loves writing recipes to share on her blog and Instagram. Vivien is passionate about discovering new flavours and ingredients, and takes culinary inspiration from her Vietnamese background and multicultural Australia, where she was born and raised. Follow Vivien on instagram @vivieneats.


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