Zahra Bi Laban or Zahra O Laban translates to Cauliflower in yogurt. It is such a hearty dish and the perfect dinner especially on a cooler night. It’s made with fried cauliflower florets (or baked!) and tender lamb. You can also use beef, or even chicken. Growing up we always made it with tender cooked lamb shoulder and fried cauliflower. However, feel free to adjust according to your diet.
Many families will also mix Jameed in with the yogurt sauce. I personally don’t like how rich it makes the meal and prefer to make it with plain yogurt. As you can see, there are many adjustments you can make to make this your own or more similar to what you grew up eating. THIS recipe is how I grew up eating it and is one of my favorite dishes. I hope you make it for your family and enjoy it as much as we do.
Zahra Bi Laban
A hearty rich meal perfect for a cooler day. Perfectly fried golden cauliflower florets, tender lamb pieces, and a creamy yogurt sauce topped with sauteed garlic. This “stew” served over rice is absolute perfection.
1 cauliflower, cut into large florets
Vegetable Oil for frying
1/2 lamb shoulder cut into big pieces
*Spices for Lamb
5 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
2 lbs plain greek yogurt
10 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Ghee or Oil
Begin by washing your meat and preparing it for cooking. I start by heating a few tbsp of oil and adding these spices: 5 Cardamom Pods, 2 Bay Leaves, 5 Whole Cloves, 1 Cinnamon Stick. I also add one roughly chopped onion. I add the meat and sear on all sides then sprinkle in 1/2 tbsp of salt and 1 tsp black pepper and cover the meat with water. I use a pressure cooker to cook the meat. Once I skim off any foam and it boils I seal the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Once the meat cools slightly remove any visible fat and strain the broth from the spices and onions. Set aside.
Chop your cauliflower into florets and fry until golden brown and tender. Set aside.
Prepare your yogurt sauce by whisking the yogurt, cornstarch and cold water over medium heat until thickened and boiling. Slowly add in 4 cups of the reserved strained meat broth. Make sure both the broth is hot like the yogurt when adding it in. If you add cold broth to the hot yogurt your sauce will break.
Continue to whisk for a couple minutes till the entire sauce is bubbly. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
Add in the cooked lamb and cauliflower. Allow to simmer on a low heat. Meanwhile prepare the garlic.
Heat some ghee in a pan and add the minced garlic. Cook till it begins to brown and then pour it all over the pot. Pour some of the yogurt into the pan to make sure to get all the bits of garlic.
Serve the Zahra Bi Laban over white vermicelli rice. Enjoy!
These are the spices I use to cook my lamb. I personally don’t like to add too much or it changes the color and flavor of it. However, with it being such a gamey meat these spices cut back on the richness and gamey smell and flavor. Feel free to use whatever mixture you prefer to cook your meat in.