Friday, May 31, 2013

Slow Cooker Afghan Lamb with Spinach

I find Afghan food to be very flavorful -- accented with subtle spices. Afghan food is not as spicy as Indian food. Some Afghans love spicy food so they make various kinds of accompaniments to add the extra zing.

Onions are the base for most Afghan dishes. Sabzi Challow is a traditional Afghan NewYear’s Eve dish, made with spinach (sabzi) and lamb with rice (challow). This particular dish with lamb and spinach only is called Sabzi-e- Ghoste (means vegetable and meat).

I had sabzi -e-ghoste in an Afghan friend's wedding and wanted to try the dish since then. According to me the subtle spices in the spinach combined with lamb and Basmati rice is a perfect dinner for a rainy day.


2 pounds lamb meat
1 cup olive oil
2 onions, diced large
4 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can (32 ounce size) tomatoes, drain and chop
8 oz water/ beef stock
1 pound fresh spinach, wash and drain
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
salt, to taste
1/4 cup roasted pine nuts

Sear lamb in the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onions; saute them for 2 minutes; then add the garlic and saute it for 1 minute. Put this mixture in the slow cooker 

Put in all the other ingredients except lemon peel, spinach and pine nuts.

Cook for 5 hrs on low then add the spinach and continue cooking for additional 3 hrs.

Add the lemon peel and salt to taste. Sprinkle with roasted pine nuts.

Serve over rice pilaf.


  1. Yummy spices and recipe. We don't eat lamb but I guess it'll be just as delish with goat :)

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  3. I've never had Afghan food before but looking at the spices and other ingredients you had, it look and sound very flavorful. Thank you for sharing this Afghan dish, Amrita! :)

  4. Wow,
    This looks absolutely amazing! The flavors and spices sound delightful!

    1. Thanks Asmita. The spicessmell amazing while cooking.

  5. Some of the greatest recipes come from the use of slow cooker! This lamb recipe has an interesting mingle of spices...Love it!

  6. Thanks for your comment Purabi

  7. Should the lamb meat be ground? I think that's all my store carries.

  8. Ian, generally the lamb is not ground in this recipe because chunks of lamb taste good with the spinach.If you don't get it, you can make Balls/Patti of your ground meat with 1 egg and 2 tablespoon flour and just put it in the slow cooker and cook for 5 hrs. You can also just put the ground meat and make it like chili,but personally I think the original recipe and the above Ball/Patti recipe will taste best. You can also substitute lamb with beef chunks.

    1. Thanks for the reply; I'll try to seek out unground lamb!

  9. This looks amazing.. I learned time cook some afghan food but would love to learn more. if you would like to share your knowledge you can email me