Skoudehkaris (Djibouti Lamb and Rice)

Yay! Another one-pot meal. This one’s from Djibouti, a small country right where the Gulf of Aden meets the Red Sea. It was a French colony by treaty from 1883-1977, so there’s a fair amount of influence on the food.  This dish is no exception, being far more delicately flavored than a lot of the stuff I’ve been cooking lately. Some call it their “national dish” and if it’s true I can see why.

Bowl of Djibouti Skoudehkaris lamb and rice


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 bowl
Servings Per Container 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 403 Calories from Fat 138.6
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15.4g 24%
Saturated Fat 7.7g 39%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 390mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 29.8g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3.7g 15%
Sugars 6.1g
Protein 35.6g 71%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Shopping List:

  • 1 pound cheap lamb
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2-3 tomatoes (approx 1 to 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tbsp niter kibbeh (recipe) or clarified butter (ghee)
  • Cumin
  • Whole cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Basmati rice

Prep work: There’s not a lot to this one.  In separate bowls:

  • De-bone and cube the lamb (save the bones)
  • Slice the onions into strips, and cube the tomatoes
  • Rinse a proud 1/2 cup of rice.

Begin by melting the niter kibbeh in a karahi or dutch oven (maybe a high-sided pan) on high and brown the lamb, bones and all. Once browned, remove the meat cubes & bones, and put in the onions. Saute until the strings are soft.

Add the lamb back in, along with the tomatoes. Season with 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and two whole cloves.  Stir-fry for 4-5 minutes until the juice starts coming out of the tomatoes.

Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Lower the temps, cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Add a little water if it starts to dry out.

Next, remove the bones and add the rice.  Add enough water to cover again, plus 1/4 inch or so. Bring back to a simmer, cover and let go for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Bowls work best.