Tabakh Roho: Self-Cooked Lamb and Vegetables Stew

Schools are finally back, bringing to our life some structure and a sense of routine!

That said, whether you were homeschooling or not we all feel exhausted this school season as the lockdown has diminished our motion stamina.

Resuming our pre-COVID lifestyle seems taxing so far, given the multiple errands and driving back and forth from activities.

Serving dinner is also becoming a burden as the weather is still warm in many places across the globe, and we can only spend so much time in a steamy kitchen.

Therefore I am dedicating this feed and a few future ones to share easy-to-follow recipes that should minimize your time in the kitchen.

This recipe, Tabakh Roho, is a lamb and vegetable stew that originates in Damascus, Syria. Its Arabic name means “self-cooked” in English, a name that alludes to its simplicity and the minimum prep time it calls for!

I came to learn this exotic dish from a food blogger, Sara Shashaa, who shared her recipe on the platform of “Arabic flavor“, a cooking club on Facebook.

I lightly tweaked the recipe to have a denser sauce and prolonged the cooking time of the lamb shank to ensure its doneness.

95% of the cooking time of this dish is passive. No need to babysit the stew on the stove, much less if you use a slow cooker or a Crockpot.

First, the lamb shank is added to water with spices, onions, and garlic in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Once the liquid starts to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for almost an hour or until the lamb shank is falling off the bone and the stock becomes concentrated and rich in flavors and aromas.

Remove the lamb shank from the pan and set aside, drain the stock, and discard the solids in the stock.

In a clean heavy-bottom pan add the clear stock, lamb, and the chopped vegetables over low heat and let everything simmer for no longer than 20 minutes.

The magic occurs when the crushed garlic mixed with the dried mint is added to the simmering stew.  The mint fragrance overpowers any strong taste of the lamb and creates an appetizing balance with the rest of the ingredients’ flavors.

This meal is best enjoyed with a bowl of fluffy basmati rice to soak up the luscious sauce.

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If you try this recipe, don’t forget to hashtag #cheznermine to share a photo of your own rendition with us.

Tabakh Roho: Syrian Lamb & Vegetables Stew

Serves: 4-6 people

Recipe adapted from Sara Shashaa


Lamb Stock 

  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • One or two pieces of lamb shank
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 big onion
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic
  • A handful of parsley stalks
  • 1 whole stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

The Stew 

  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 big eggplant, or 2 small
  • 2 zucchinis, coarsely chopped
  • 2 potatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint


  1. Make the stock: Add the butter or oil into a heavy bottom pan over low-medium heat, when it gets hot, add the lamb shank and sear on all sides until it has a nice golden-brown crust. Add the water, onions, garlic, and spices. Let everything simmer for an hour or until the lamb shank is falling off the bone and the stock is rich in aromas and spices. Remove the lamb shank from the stock first and set aside. Over a fine-mesh sieve, drain the stock and discard the solids.
  2. Make the stew: In a clean heavy bottom pan, add the butter or oil, stir fry the potatoes first, then the zucchini, and lastly the eggplants. Toss the tomato paste in the stock and stir well until it is well incorporated. Add the stock-tomato paste mixture and the lamb shank to the vegetables and let it cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until fully cooked. By the end of the cooking time, add the crushed garlic mixed with the dry mint to the stew. Stir briefly, cover the pan and turn off the heat.
  3.  Serve hot or warm next to plain white rice.


  • This Middle Eastern lamb and meat stew hails from Damascus, the capital of Syria.


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