Best Techniques & Spices for Cooking East African Style Lamb Cutlets & Couscous.

A Very Special Lamb Dish.

Spiced Lamb Cutlets.

The very best techniques for cooking famous spiced lamb cutlets and Couscous dishes : East African style, by Pearldiver. Oh Yum, Spiced Lamb Cutlets with Couscous! These have originally come from the small nation of Djibouti. A country of contrast situated at the junction of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

A country of less than 9000 square miles, with a population of less than 500,000; Djibouti is made up of the blend of Arabic, French and Somali cultures. Djibouti has always been a trading nation, perfectly positioned to offer unique spices, culinary fusions and traditional dishes. As a main course dish; Spiced Lamb Cutlets and Couscous enhanced by the uniqueness of East African tastes and aromas; will provide your guests with a dining experience like no other. When eaten authentically; this dish is served on a single plate and eaten by hand. For the sake of dinner parties etc. the preparation here best suits the using of utensils; but don't be afraid to use your hands if they are clean.

If you are prepared to experiment; then you will find that the dishes here are very easy to make and look good enough to have your friends asking you how you learned a recipe like this. Don't tell them.. keep it a secret and keep them guessing. You do have to admit that this recipe does look quite complex and if you introduce others to this blend of spices and herbs, then they will soon sing your praise. So Enjoy this recipe and Enjoy the attention Chef....

A Place of multiple cultures and a fusion of wonderful foods.

Preparing the Ingredients.

The Dry Spice Ingredients Are:

1 Tablespoon of Ground Cumin

1 Tablespoon of Paprika

2 teaspoon of Oreganum

2 teaspoon of Garlic Powder

½ teaspoon of Rosemary

½ teaspoon of Chili Powder

½ teaspoon of Ground Coriander Seed

½ teaspoon of Ground Ginger

½ teaspoon of Cinnamon

1½ teaspoon of Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon of Salt

1 Pinch of Tumeric

Thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients above in a glass bowl. Once mixed place approximately half of this mixture into a sealable airtight plastic bag. Cover the remainder in the bowl and stand for later at room temperature.

Ingredients for the Couscous:

1 Cup of quick cooking Couscous

¼ Cup of Pine Nuts

¼ Cup of Chopped Almonds

¼ Cup of Diced Dry Apricots

¼ Cup of Chopped Fresh Coriander

¼ Cup of Dried Raisins or Sultanas

½ teaspoon of Ground Cumin

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 teaspoon of Grated Orange Zest

2 Cups of Chicken Stock that is at boiling temperature.

Ingredients for the Lamb Cutlets

8 Small – Medium Chined Lamb Cutlets:

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Orange Juice (squeezed from the grated orange)

Other Ingredients (for garnishing):

¼ Cup of Chopped Fresh Mint.

250 grams of Plain Yogurt.

Sprigs of Fresh Coriander.


Now: To Put it all Together.

Take the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir into that mix; 1 Tablespoon of Orange Juice along with the Tablespoon of Olive Oil. Make sure that you have enough fluid from this to turn the ingredients into a well mixed paste like consistency. Note: Add a little extra Olive Oil if required. Cover and stand this bowl again while you prepare the cutlets.

On the bench surface, take a clean plastic bag and place the cutlets individually inside the plastic as you are going to tenderize them. Make sure that other than the rib bone, there are no other bones or areas of fat on the cutlets. If so, cut it off and then with a rolling pin apply enough rolling pressure to flatten each cutlet out, without destroying its shape. Don’t be afraid to beat up the cutlets this way.

Now take the cutlets and immerse them into the paste of the spice mix in the bowl. Spoon any surplus spice paste over the cutlets so that they can marinade in the paste. Cover the bowl again and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Mix into a clean bowl the 250 grams of Yogurt and the ¼ cup of Chopped Mint. Mix these together well by stirring vigorously, as this tends to bruise the Mint and therefore release the sharpness of the taste into the Yogurt. Cover and place into the refrigerator to chill. You will use this as a garnish on the Couscous later.

Next task is to take a high sided frying pan and pour into it; the 2 Cups of blended Chicken Stock, stirring on a high heat to bring this to the boil. Take another fry pan, a dash of Olive Oil and stir in the Pine Nuts over a high heat; moving them in the pan, until browned in about 2 minutes. Then stand to cool in another bowl.

When the Pine Nuts are cool, add to them the Almonds and the grated Orange Zest. You will add this mix to the Couscous while it is soaking up the chicken stock mix.

Now into another heatproof glass bowl; pour in the cup of Couscous, the Diced Apricots, the Raisins or Sultanas, the Cumin and stir in the Olive Oil. Add to this the boiling Chicken Stock while stirring all the time, so that the Couscous is submerged in this liquid. Stir this through the Couscous, partially cover the bowl and stand for 10 minutes to allow the couscous to expand. Once all the liquid is gone, the couscous is ready, so add and stir in the Pine Nuts and mix as above. Just prior to serving, add the Chopped Coriander and stir it though.

While the Couscous is soaking up the fluids, it is time to cook the Lamb Cutlets. Using the fry pan that you roasted the Pine Nuts in, add a dash of Olive Oil and put the pan onto a very high heat. You really only want to sear the cutlets; so take them from the fridge and cook them in two batches if need be; making sure that the cutlets are placed into the pan with a good amount of spice marinade over them. Cook the cutlets on each side until they are lightly browned. This will take only about 1½ minutes per side; but you must be alert and not drift away, enveloped in the most wonderful, spicy aroma. Make sure that you sample taste and season if required; before serving.

Serve on warm plates (because while you were using the stove, you had placed the plates into the warmer). Spoon two piles of Couscous on each plate, add (with tongs) 3 or 4 Spiced Lamb Cutlets, standing them on their ends and secured by the stickiness of the Couscous. Garnish with a dollop or two of Mint Yogurt and a sprig of Coriander. Enjoy. You will Love Spiced Lamb Cutlets with Couscous and Minted Yogurt; this is an awesome East African dish that I have tweaked ever so slightly.

Bon Appetite.

Copyright © 2010 - 2015 Art of the Diver with all rights reserved.

Spiced Lamb Cutlets, Couscous & Minted Yogurt.

Will you try this dish on your friends or Not?

See results without voting

So what did you think?

Note: Remember that you still have another mix of spices in an airtight sealed plastic bag. It does seem such a waste, not to use it… so… I hope you have enjoyed this recipe.

From Djibouti comes: Famous Spiced Lamb Cutlets and Couscous Dishes: East African Style. What did you think about this dish? This is relatively easy to prepare, make and gain a lasting impression from.  If you choose to dine in the traditional way, then don't trim the lamb and serve both the lamb and the couscous on a single large plate.  No cutlery to wash - just your hands, as this is eaten in your fingers in East Africa.  Enjoy. Thanks for reading.

More by this Author

Comments 34 comments

PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 6 years ago from USA

Congratulations !

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi PhoenixV, thanks for that.. winning was a surprise, especially with only one entry. Awesome. Take care.

oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Hi Pearl, great recipes included here, will have to try them as they look amazing! Congratulations on your daily drawing win.

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi O n S, thanks for reading this. They are excellent recipes and are fast dishes too, with marinading the lamb being the most time consuming part of the prep. Oh well, I'm a few wins behind you guys as I've only come to the comp in the last week. Take care.

Twenty One Days 6 years ago

two words: yummy yummy. Congrats on the daily! -James

Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Spiced lamb sounds really good. Congrats on the win! :)

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi James, thanks for reading this. Making this recipe is like grinding and brewing fresh coffee beans.. the aroma floats down the street. Yep it really is a yummy dish; as I'm sure you will find out when you try it. It's already a winner here lol... it won the daily.. yipee! Take care.

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi MG, thank you for taking the time to check out this recipe for Spiced Lamb Cutlets. It is a really good main and is pretty much a failsafe method that takes no time to learn. Thanks for the congrats.. a lucky shot maybe - 1 entry for 1 hit.. but I'll take it gratefully, as this recipe is a beauty. Take Care.

travelespresso profile image

travelespresso 6 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

Yummmm PD - when's dinner??? This is an excellent hub and I will just have to try it - when I can get some lamb cutlets that is! Congratulations on your win. Well done!

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi TE, thanks for calling by. Yes.. Well... Of course we have 40 million of those woolly things don't we? I'm surprised that you travel the world without a lamb under your arm for those special meal days! Probably left the Marmite behind too (Sheeesh!).

Do smuggle this recipe and try it out at the right time TE.. you will really impress, especially if you do it with NZ Lamb. Cheers for the congrats mate.. Think about what other meat variations this would work for! Viet Nam Fish maybe? Take Care.

SomewayOuttaHere profile image

SomewayOuttaHere 6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

that sounds obviously like to cook...i used to...not so much anymore...but my buddy who cooks for me from time loves cooking i'll get her to try this - our weekly meal together!

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi SomewayOuttaHere, Thanks for reading this and your comments. Yep I enjoy cooking at all levels but I haven't until recently started to put up my recipes here. This one is really nice.. so I will be most interested to know how you guys found this taste. I'm sure that you will enjoy this if you follow the recipe step by step. So please enjoy and take care.

Leslie Jo Barra profile image

Leslie Jo Barra 6 years ago

This sounds delicious. You have great food hubs.

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Leslie Jo, thanks for taking the time to read this work. Yes it is a delicious dish and well worth trying. Thanks for the compliment.. take care.

Peace2009 profile image

Peace2009 6 years ago from New Zealand

Looks like a yummy meal Pearl - I'm going to try it sometime

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Congrats PD, cook me some, Maita

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Peace, thanks for reading this recipe. it is indeed yummy, as long as your lamb has not been chased around the paddock before it is introduced to the Couscous. It is an easy dish to prepare and there are millions of woolly jumpers out there, so you have no excuse for not trying it. Take care and watch those ones that act the goat!! lol.

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Maita, thanks for calling in. Did you get my vote? Thanks for the congrats. I will be cooking this dish tommorrow, of course you are invited. If you pack quickly and leave within the next hour, you should get to NZ before the BumbleTown roosters start crowing to everyone that you're on your way! Don't forget that as you read this.. it was yesterday for us! (timezone)..

So yeah.. don't miss dinner tommorrow, don't forget that it is a 3 hour walk from the BumbleTown Almost-International Landing Strip. And if you ask the pilot.. he might catch a lamb for you to bring for the recipe.

Take Care.... Do your best... I'll tell the cat you're on the way!

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Oh, it is too far, I want to go!

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Look... everyone says that! I know it's only an excuse, because it's a few blocks away from the Landing Strip and the forrest-folk are only recently converted from headhunting. So, I'll tell you what..... Why don't I tie a horse up to the tree at the end of the runway? That way you can avoid standing in the sheep pats on the track and be 20 minutes early enough to cook the couscous.

BTW: Might be a good idea to wear a good insect repellant too - It will keep the Mayor's family away! See ya tommorrow... YeeHaa! (oh yeah, the horse's name is Clopp-Plonk (how she walks) PDH... You'll like her... she's only 23 years old and a grey.)

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

When I saw the title my first thought was, "A New Zealander aught to be good at lamb recipes if anyone is." You guys sure have some sheep!

The recipe looks fantastic, so origin is of little consequence.

I will build me one of these spiced lamb cutlets and Causcous meals, it looks very tasty!

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Earnest, thanks for reading this recipe. It is a very 'safe' dish Earnest. The main East African thing is the unusual blend of spices and couscous is more Middle Eastern than African. We know the quality of Downunder lamb; so either side of the ditch it's pretty good. I'm sure you will enjoy this mate. Bon Appetite.

wooden spice rack 6 years ago

Looks delicious! I like your idea recipes on lamb. good hub

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi WSR.. thanks for reading this. As you can see there are quite a few herbs used in this recipe. Take care.

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

These sound too scrumptious for words! We love lamb (though I'm supposed to foreswear red meat for the sake of the gout, you know!) and so will definitely try this one out. Bookmarked.

Love and peace


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi Tony, thanks for reading this great recipe. Yes it certainly is a nice way to do lamb. Waste of time letting gout get in the way though... might be a good idea to apply mind over that matter.. Take care mate.

mquee profile image

mquee 6 years ago from Columbia, SC

The recipe sounds great and I will surely try it out. I like the brief lesson on Djibouti, before the recipe; that gives the dish a bit of the exotic. Thanks for sharing.

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi mquee, thanks for taking the time to read this and comment. I'm sure that you will enjoy this lovely recipe. If you wish to authenticate it more; then just use the lamb cuts as they happen and serve the whole meal on a single plate; so that you and your guests then eat the dish in your fingers only. Enjoy. Take care.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

Well, PD, this looks extremely delicious. Now, if only I can get my hands on some really succulent, tasty, fresh lamb.... Know where to find some??? :D (btw, I'm from cattle country so I love the cow pic)

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Well Howdy Cowboygirl, thanks for calling by and yes this is a really nice recipe. Of course, spring lambs are just starting to jump around down here.... but they are really quick and it's best to wait until they have fattened up and slowed down. In about a months time there will be lots of lamb rustlers on the road.. the last (3 of them) lot caught had 16 fully grown sheep in their car.. and the cop realised that they weren't giving the sheep driving lessons as claimed, when he noticed that the rustlers had wool lined gumboots and bondage toys. I think a BumbleTown butcher was involved.. as the name in the gumboots was the same... 'Butcher!' Cheers Beth.. Take Care ya hear.

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

I just discovered this hub, pearldiver. The rub must be fantastic! I can see using this on a pork tenderloin, or a beef roast ,too. I also thought the picture of the cow thanking you was just so cute!

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi bayoulady, thanks for reading this excellent recipe. When you prepare the spice mix you will know immediately that you can use it as a tasty base for several cuts. In fact if you make a paste out of it with say; olive oil, then you could also seriously enhance toast! I hope you enjoy your choice and gain a compliment or 5 for your efforts. Good Luck.

stessily 4 years ago

Pearldiver, This is such a wonderful presentation of this recipe. Prefacing the recipe with its cultural context adds a special, exotic flavor. The recipe is irresistible, especially for me as I know a good couscous dish when I see it or read about it. The unique texture and flavor of couscous ~~~ especially tantalizing with all the flavors which couscous sponges from its plate mates ~~~ are memorably and tastefully unique. Your images are beautiful. The grateful cow is a nice touch. Well done. Up + UFABI + sharing.

Appreciatively, Stessily

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 4 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. Author

Hi stessily, thanks very much for your fine comments and compliment. The aromas of this dish while prepping and cooking are amazing and that I think is the real reason why it tastes so nice... it has already seduced the senses. You are spot on in regard to couscous and that is what makes it perfect with this dish... I hope that you enjoy this recipe and I'm sure as many here have already pointed out, experimenting with the spice mix and rub will give you some interesting tastes... Enjoy and thanks again for the vote and the share... all the best... take care.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article