Lamb Mandi from Matam (Restaurant) Ibrahim, Al Hassa

I was recently invited to a colleague’s wedding in a village called Al Omran in the traditional oasis region of Al Hassa.

This was my second wedding in Al Hassa and i didn’t want to miss the opportunity of tasting some authentic hassa cuisines.

Introducing the Karouf (Lamb) Mandi, a speciality that was the main dish being served at the wedding and the aroma of the lamb had me in a trance and got my stomach grumbling for something to bite into.

Lamb Mandi

Looks can be deceiving. The whole process on how this is cooked is quite interesting and a story by itself. It starts off with pits being dug and the meat slow cooked over smoke and flames fuelled with date palm wood. I was told this was done at a date farm very close to the village.

The rice was beautifully cooked and well flavoured with the fat from the meat and stock. One bite and it was wonderfully addictive, the flavour making you moan in appreciation of the love and labour that was put into making the dish. The meat had a smoky flavour to it, soft and tender from the hours put into making it. I would most definitely recommend this dish to anyone that has plans on visiting Al Hassa. Hell, even my friends and i are planning a trip soon and I’m pretty sure they would feel the same way i did after my first bite. NIRVANA !

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