How to cook djiz, or roast boiled lamb with vegetables
Published: 22-Jan-2012 (14:37); Viewed: 2126; Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Djiz is a traditional Uzbekistan lamb dish, where the meat is boiled before roasting. This dish, is traditionally served with plenty of fresh green herbs like dill, coriander and onion. To properly cook djiz, you should preferably have a shallow casting iron pan with a spherical bottom, or alternatively, a large heavy spherical wok (or sadzh). This dish should be served with boiled rice. When eating, you should always cover both the rice and the meat with chopped herbs and additional spices.
Ingredients. In this recipe, there will be no exact amount of ingredients given. This dish should be cooked to your taste.
- Lamb. Take as much as you want to eat. A large mutton leg will be perfect for 5-6 portions.
- Garlic – 2-3 bulbs. It is preferable to have young garlic, but old/dry is suitable as well.
- Sweet onion – this onion will be eaten fresh, so, the sweetness is very important. You can also use mild onion instead.
- Small tomatoes – a few small tomatoes, bigger than grape tomatoes, but definitely smaller than beef tomatoes. Most optimal are tomatoes on the vine.
- Leek – select leeks with larger white parts, 2-3 will be enough.
- Green salad onion – a standard bunch will be enough for cooking, but if you especially like it, you can add more.
- Fresh dill – one standard bunch.
- Fresh green coriander – two standard bunches.
- Rosemary – 2-3 sprouts.
- Thyme, or lemon thyme – half of standard bunch. Personally, I prefer to use lemon thyme because it adds lemon aroma.
- Red hot chilli – 1-2 fresh fruits.
- Spices. All spices should be milled just before cooking. Pre-grounded spices do not give all the necessary taste and aroma.
- Coriander seeds.
- Cumin, also known as zira.
- Black pepper
Trim all extra fat bits, including all films and large tendons. Cut meat onto egg-sized pieces. Chop meat with bones in them a little bigger. Each bone should be split into 2-3 pieces. Remove any small sharp bits from bones.
Place all meat into the centre of the wok (or sadzh). Place the pieces with the bones on the bottom, and pieces without the bones on the top of the meat pyramid. Add about 300 ml of cold water. No salt, no oil, nothing! Just meat and water.
Tightly cover the meat with a heat-proof bowl or similar lid. Allow some free space between the meat and the bowl, however, make sure that the edges of the bowl fit close to the wok (or sadzh).
Switch on to medium heat and boil for about an hour. The bottom meat pieces with bones will be properly boiled, while top meat will be just steamed. If you believe that the meat is very hard, increase cooking time a bit. During this cooking you should prepare all vegetables and spices.
Mill or grind black pepper, salt, cumin and coriander seeds. In worst case scenario, if you do not have a hand mill or a mortar and pestle, you can chop your seeds with sharp knife. In this picture I chop cumin and coriander seeds with a knife, and it takes only 5 min.
Mix salt, black pepper, cumin and coriander in the bowl. One part of this mixture will be used for cooking djiz, and other part will be used as a main spice on the table. For example if you sprinkle this mixture on finely sliced sweet onion, you can eat the onion alone.
Remove dirty bits from the garlic, and cut it into two halves perpendicular to the cloves. Cut the white part of leek into 3-4 cm bits. Cut the hot chilli in half and clean the rosemary and thyme. Clean tomatoes. You also can cut them into halves now or do it just before cooking.
Chop half of green coriander and half of dill for future use. At this time you can start to cook rice in the standard rice cooker. Also finely slice the sweet onion (not shown on the picture).
When the meat is boiled for an hour it should be ready. Separate the lamb meat from the stock and dry it few minutes on a colander or sieve. Salt the lamb stock to your taste and use it later as a sauce for the rice.
Slightly clean the wok (or sadzh), and start to use it again. Put a bit of olive oil on the bottom and start to warm it up on low to medium heat. Olive oil is one of the best for transfering taste and aroma between vegetables and meat.
Add halves of garlic, halves of tomatoes, leek-bits, rosemary and thyme into the wok (or sadzh). Use following technique to add anything into the wok (or sadzh): Move everything from the centre to make enough space for what you intend to add, and place it into the centre of wok (or sadzh) where the oil is deepest. To put the next bit of food into the wok (or sadzh), repeat this procedure. Do not put anything to the side parts – they will be without oil.
Place the meat into the centre of the wok (or sadzh), as described previously, and sprinkle with your mixture of spices. From now on, every the time you add anything new to the wok (or sadzh) or turn the meat upside-down, sprinkle a bit of spices on them. Roast the meat until brown and turn it upside-down. When the meat will be roasted from each side, remove it and place the next portion of meat. In total there will be 3-4 portions of meat. Keep an eye on the vegetables - do not burn them and remove when they will be ready.
Place meat and roasted vegetables on the large plate.
When you add one layer of meat onto the plate, cover everything with chopped green coriander dill and sliced onion, add a few sprouts of onion, dill and coriander, sprinkle some mixed spices, then place the next layer of roasted meat with vegetables and so on.
tips and tricks
- Serve the plate with all meat into the centre of the table and allow everybody to serve themselves.
- Also serve chopped green coriander and dill, sliced onion, or pickled onions, the mixture of spices and rice.
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