Monday, November 22, 2010

Shakriyeh (lamb and yogurt stew)

What Arab doesnt like yogurt and rice? Ya thats what i cant think of one. Yogurt and rice to Arabs is like burger and fries to Americans....i guess. Shakriyeh is so very delicious, everyone has their own way of making it, what i love about this dish is that it is hard to mess up unless of course you dont follow directions and leave the yogurt on the stove and burn it or something. AHHHH i just remember one of the first times i made Shakriyeh after i got married. I had seen my mom make it a ton of times and i knew how easy it was but my MIL insisted i cook the yogurt and then add the starch, well a long story short i tried her way and the yogurt boiled over and curdled...i was very depressed that night. This is seriously a fool proof way of making it. I can imagine some Arabs in their heads when reading my directions for Shakriyeh saying, "OH MY GOD she is doing it so wrong" well i don't care because it tastes the same and i have never ruined my Shakriyeh before (except that once). People, we need to improve and make things easier on ourselves, why must we follow traditions of a time when they didn't know how to take easy routes? Anyways my rant is over, this is how i make Shakriyeh.
I start off by boiling lamb shanks in a pressure cooker. I leave the bone in (some people don't) and yes that is the silver skin still on the shank. Don't fret my dear ones, once you boil these shanks the silver skin will come off and the meat will stay in tact while it boils because of it.
So once the meat comes to a boil and the scum is removed i add in an onion, salt and these spices. Can you guess them? cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamon and bay leaves! GOOD JOB
So this is the meat after it is done cooking (about 1 hour in a pressure cooker because it has the bone in)
The meat should be literally falling off the bone YET it should keep its shape because youwere smart and left the silver skin ON! aren't you glad you listened to me?
So in a big pot with a strainer over it add in yogurt, 1 egg (i leave the egg yolk in but some people only use the egg whites) and corn starch. This is where people think I am screwing up this dish. Usually Arabs add in the corn starch slurry after the yogurt has heated up. The problem for me with this is they stand over the yogurt with much anxiety stirring constantly! If you turn your head for a minute the whole thing comes boiling over and curdles (my first experience) so listen to me if you want an easy Shakriyeh experience, add the corn starch in and whisk it into the yogurt BEFORE it gets hot.
So after the yogurt starts getting warm add in the lamb broth. This amount it up to you because some people like their yogurt very white so they don't add much in but i like my yogurt to taste good so i add in a few cups of the broth.
So when the meat has cooled down enough for you to handle it (but not cold otherwise you wont be able to get the silver skin and fat off) i remove the meat from the bone and I remove anything else that is not meat (i don't like fat so i get it all off but arabs do like their fat...not judging)
Serve with vermicelli rice and cracker black pepper
Some people like to eat their Shakriyeh cold served over hot rice ( it becomes like jello when cold) but i like the rice and yogurt hot. Enjoy

Written Recipe:

1 container of yogurt
1 egg
1 tablespoon of corn starch
3 lamb shanks
1 onion cut into 4
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
5 cardamon pods
2 bay leaves
salt to taste
vermicelli rice


  1. omg no way does that actually work??? the whole shakriyeh experience is stirring for 15 minutes, lol...
    u know what i started to do? instead of using a sieve to strain the laban, i use a hand blender.. a lot faster.

  2. Yes Ranya, it does actually work!!! and ya my MIL uses a blender bu this is easier for me

  3. So you don't have to stir till it boils when you put corn starch in the beginning?!!? I've always put the corn starch with the laban in the strainer but I always stir it till it boils..OMG this will save so much time!! You don't stir it at all?

  4. I mix the cornstarch into cold yogurt too, but I skip the egg :)

  5. Ok, so i put the egg and cornstarch in the begining and i whisk and leave it, everytime it STARTS to boil i whisk it again...i just dont tand by it for 10 minutes stirring. Even if you forget and it boils a little it shouldnt curddle if you whisk it back. You have to stir it so it wont burn but it SHOULDNT curdle

  6. The spices are TOTALLY WRONG
    What are you making a dessert
    All you need is salt pepper and Safran