Select Page

IRAQ: Lamb and Eggplant Stew with Pitas



Ready In:


Good For:



About this Recipe

By: Sawsan Alobaidi

An Iraqi take on traditional Middle Eastern meat stews, this Lamb and Eggplant Stew is flavored with traditional Middle Eastern spices and is perfect for dinners. 

Sawsan is the Refugee Employment Specialist for JFCS Refugee & Immigrant Services. She describes the recipe as a “traditional recipe from Iraq.” 


egypt on the map
  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/2 lb), sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 lamb shanks (about 1 1/4 lb each)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses*
  • 1/2 cup dried yellow split peas (3 ounces)
  • 4 dried red chiles
  • 2 teaspoons baharat spice blend or garam masala**
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 8 small pita breads, warm and torn into small pieces

*Pomegranate molasses is essentially reduced pomegranate juice.

** Baharat is a complex spice blend containing cumin, coriander and paprika. This can be found at Middle Eastern groceries.

 This Iraqi stew is traditionally called a murag, which literally translates to sauce or gravy. These meat stews are usually served with some sort of vegetable, such as green beans, eggplant or okra. When these stews are served with rice they are called timman murag. 

almonds placed on basbousa
coffee and basbousa


Step 1
In a bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of salt in 1 quart of water. Add the eggplant and cover with a small plate to keep the slices submerged, and let soak for 30 minutes. 
Step 2
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, turning once until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 10 minutes. 
    Step 3
    Add 3 quarts of water, the pomegranate molasses, split peas, dried chiles, baharat and coriander and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, skimming and stirring a few times. 
      Step 4
      Drain the eggplant and pat dry. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Brown the remaining eggplant in the 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the eggplant to the lamb and simmer over low heat, stirring, until the lamb is tender, 45 minutes. 
      Step 5
      Transfer the lamb to a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the meat from the bones and cut into 1-inch pieces. Boil the stew over high heat, skimming, until the liquid has reduced to 3 cups, about 40 minutes. 
        Finish and Serve
        Return the lamb to the stew and season with salt and pepper. Divide the pita among 4 bowls. Ladle the stew on top and serve warm.