Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Nasi Kebuli
Javanese Lamb & Rice
The manner of presentation of this Id al-Adha dish — a mound of rice concealing a rich lamb stew — demonstrates the influence of the Arab spice traders on Indonesian cookery.
Total time: 2 hours
¾ cup water
1-½ tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
5 cloves garlic
½ cup coarsely chopped onion
3 tsp. cumin
3 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground fenugreek seed
1 tsp. turmeric
4-½ lbs. boneless lamb, cut into 2" cubes
7 cups coconut milk
3 bay leaves
Zest from 2 lemons, cut in large strips
6 cups rice

Using a blender or food processor, combine the water, sugar, salt, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, fenugreek and turmeric.

Put the lamb in a large stew pot, pour in the spice paste, stir well to combine, then turn the heat on to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in 4 cups of coconut milk, salam or bay leaves, and the lemon zest. Stir well, bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for an hour to an hour and a half, until the lamb is tender.

Pour off most of the lamb sauce into a measuring cup, leaving just enough liquid in the pot to keep the lamb from drying out while you cook the rice. Cover the pot and keep the lamb warm over low heat. Note the volume of sauce in the measuring cup, then transfer it to a large tight-lidded pot with the remaining 3 cups of coconut milk and enough water to make a total of 10½ cups of liquid. Bring to a boil, add the rice, stir well, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. (Do not let the liquid return to the boil after adding the rice, or it will stick to the bottom of the pot.) Let the rice cook for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat.

When the rice is ready, dish the lamb into the center of a large serving platter. Fluff up the rice, then heap it over the lamb and bring it to the table.