Harees (Meat porridge)

Recipes from Maitha Al Shamsi, co-owner of Mama Tani café,

  • Serves 6-8

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 0
  • fat 0g
  • saturates 0g
  • carbs 0g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 0g
  • salt 0g


  • 475g harees (wheatberries)
  • 1kg lamb
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • Water, for soaking the wheat
  • Samen (local clarified butter) or melted butter or ghee


  1. Soak the wheat overnight in plenty of water and then drain. In a large, heavy bottomed pot (or special harees pot), place the wheat with the lamb, salt, pepper and cinnamon sticks. Add enough hot water so that it is about 5cm above the wheat and meat mixture. Place a damp cloth or aluminium foil over the pot and cover with a tight lid. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook on a very low heat for 2-3 hrs, stirring occasionally to skim off the froth or fat from the surface. Once the wheat is soft and most of the water has been absorbed, remove from heat and allow to cool (If all the water has been absorbed add about 1 cup of boiling water; if there is too much water but the wheat is cooked, ladle out the excess water).

  2. Remove the bones off the lamb and shred any large pieces of meat. Mix the wheat and tender meat until it reaches a slightly elastic, paste-like consistency using a blender, adding a little salted boiling water to thin it down if required (a large wooden spoon is traditionally used for this). Check the seasoning and add more if desired. Transfer to a serving dish or tray.

  3. Place the samen in a pan and gently warm until it melts. Pour the melted butter over the harees and serve hot.

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