Lamb and eggplant khoresh

Traditional favourite: Lamb and eggplant khoresh.
Traditional favourite: Lamb and eggplant khoresh. Photo: Marina Oliphant

This is a traditional Persian meat sauce that is gently flavoured with spices to have over plain rice, or, better still, chilau. Chilau is light and fluffy rice cooked with a crunchy golden surprise. This recipe is adapted from Claudia Roden's A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.


1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying the eggplant
500g leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
half a nutmeg, grated
60g brown lentils, soaked in water for 2 hours
1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into 3cm dice
2 tbsp each of chopped mint and parsley


In a heavy-based pan, fry the onion in the butter and oil over a medium heat until soft and golden.

Add the lamb and continue to cook over a higher heat until brown all over. Season with salt and pepper, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.

Add the drained lentils and cover with water - you will need about 600ml. Turn the heat to low, partially cover with a lid and cook until the lamb is just tender - about 90 minutes. You may need to add a little water as you go.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, fry the eggplant in a liberal amount of very hot olive oil. Drain on absorbent paper, add to the lamb koresh and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Serve over the rice and sprinkle with the mint and parsley. Yoghurt can be served on the side.