“The love and patience that Guitta and Toufic (my in-laws) give to the mint they grow in their backyard wonderland of Lebanese herbs and vegetables, the time they spend hand-picking each mint leaf, laying them out on old bed sheets to dry under the summer sun, inspires me. Then there’s days of bending over buckets, hand-flaking the mint until it becomes a fine, bright-green pungent powder to be used in Toufic’s special za’atar mix and, of course, the nana, or mint, that is the soul of this dish. You cannot do this dish justice with old, grey, tasteless dried mint.”
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 100 gm carnaroli rice, rinsed
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 10 ml olive oil
- 20 gm plain flour
- 800 gm thick Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- To serve: thinly sliced mint
- 2 tsp Aleppo pepper (see note)
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
- 480 gm goat leg meat (see note)
- 120 gm lamb fat (see note)
- 1½ tbsp Aleppo pepper (see note)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1½ tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1For Aleppo pepper oil, cook ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant (2-4 minutes). Strain through a fine metal sieve and set aside (discard solids).
- 2For goat kofta, mince goat, fat, pepper and garlic through a mincer or food processor until combined. Transfer to a bowl, add parsley, knead until mixture is pliable and elastic (2-4 minutes). Roll into 6 balls, place on a tray, refrigerate to rest (1 hour). Preheat a char-grill over high heat. Mould each ball onto a metal skewer and grill, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (5-10 minutes).
- 3Meanwhile, combine stock and 1 litre water in a large saucepan and bring to the simmer over medium heat, add rice and cook until tender (8-10 minutes), keep warm.
- 4Combine onion and oil in a separate saucepan and sauté over medium heat until tender (5-10 minutes).
- 5Combine flour and 100ml cold water in a bowl, whisk to dissolve, add yoghurt and yolk, mix to combine. Whisk into rice mixture, add dried mint and onion mixture, season to taste and bring to the simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened and flour is cooked out (3-4 minutes). Serve drizzled with Aleppo pepper oil to taste, topped with sliced mint and kofta to the side.
Aleppo pepper is hot dried Turkish chilli, available from Turkish grocers. If unavailable, substitute roasted chilli flakes, available from Asian grocers. Goat meat and lamb fat are available from select butchers. If goat is unavailable, substitute lamb.
This recipe is from the April 2010 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Juicy, spicy Yarra Valley shiraz. Drink suggestion by Max Allen