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Ouzi

ouzi topped with lamb in a serving platter

Ouzi, Ghuzi, Qoozi, or Khuzi (قوزي in Arabic), pronounced “ooze,” is a beloved Arab spiced rice dish jeweled with peas, carrots, and succulent lamb. It is a delicious meal that is perfect for a gathering. It is aromatic and flavorful, from the well-seasoned rice to the melt-in-your-mouth lamb. All of this isn’t complete without the toasted slivered almonds on top, adding crunch to each bite. This comforting dish is a must in our household, especially during Ramadan! It is a family favorite.

This post is brought to you by AMERICAN LAMB BOARD. Thank you for supporting Fufu’s Kitchen to continue sharing delicious recipes.  All opinions are my own.

ouzi topped with lamb in a serving platter

What is Lamb Ouzi?

Variations of ouzi can be found all over the Middle Eastern region. The most popular is this traditional one served with slow-cooked fall-off-the-bone lamb. In my recipe, I not only cook the lamb for 2 hours in a seasoned broth, but I marinate it afterward and bake it for a few minutes for maximum flavor and appeal. Check out my ouzi rice recipe with ground beef for a quick and delicious weeknight meal!

What sets this rice dish apart from other Arab rice dishes like Maqluba or Kabseh is its flavor profile. The seasonings include cardamom, cinnamon, 7 spice or allspice, bay leaves, dried lime, curry powder, and paprika. These spices add warmth to the meal and make it that much more inviting and enticing to keep eating.

How to cook the Lamb in Ouzi?

Firstly, it starts with quality. You must buy quality American Lamb Shoulder from your local butcher. I go to a nearby Halal butchery that offers great quality, American Lamb. You would then ask your butcher to cut it into medium-sized pieces. If you go to an Arab butcher, you can mention that it will be cooked for ouzi and they would know what size best to cut it for the dish you are cooking.

I then rinse the lamb and scrub well to remove any residue. Add the lamb pieces to a hot pot with oil and sear for a few minutes. Then, add the water and aromatics and cook the meat for 2 hours until fork tender.

But that’s not all; I like to take it a step further to amp up the flavor and look of the meat. Once the meat has been cooked till tender, I season it with a marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, curry, 7 spices, and garlic. I toss the meat in a baking dish, cover it with foil, and bake at 320 F for 10 minutes. The final result is a gorgeous color and the flavor is unmatched. The lamb is then ready to top the beautiful rice pilaf.

ouzi platter topped with nuts

Why Buy American Lamb?

Did you know that American Lamb is naturally nourishing? On average, a 3-ounce serving of American Lamb will give you half of your daily protein needs and 160 calories. It is super nutritious, too, being an excellent source of protein, zinc, iron, vitamin B12, and more.

And if you didn’t know, when you purchase American lamb, you directly benefit local farmers and ranchers dedicated to caring for the land and animals. American lamb is produced in every state in the U.S., so fresh, local lamb is available year-round. Choosing American Lamb will yield you a high-quality and nutrient-rich protein. You can always source both kosher and halal certified American Lamb. If you want to learn more about the benefits, grazing methods, and where to find American Lamb near you, visit their website.

ouzi tender bite
ouzi

What to serve with Ouzi?

Ouzi is a composed dish with the protein and grains needed for a comprehensive meal. However, it is customarily served with an Arabic-style salad and plain yogurt. You can even make cucumber yogurt salad instead of plain yogurt. On the side, you can find pickled veggies, and or olives as well.

ouzi spread with salad and yogurt
ouzi

Please Leave a Review & Rating

I cannot wait for you to try this easy, authentic Lamb Ouzi recipe! If you try my recipes, please leave a star rating and/ or review in the comment section below. I love hearing from you. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below as well. You can share your remakes with me on my Instagram!

ouzi topped with lamb in a serving platter
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Ouzi

Ouzi, Ghuzi, Qoozi, or Khuzi (قوزي in Arabic), pronounced "ooze," is a beloved Arab spiced rice dish jeweled with peas, carrots, and succulent lamb. It is a delicious meal that is perfect for a gathering. It is aromatic and flavorful, from the well-seasoned rice to the melt-in-your-mouth lamb
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Arab, Arabic, Middle Eastern
Keyword: arab rice dish, oozi, ouzi, quzi
Servings: 6 people
Author: Heifa

Ingredients

Vegetable Prep.

  • 14 oz. Frozen peas and carrots package
  • 1 tbsp Curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • Salt & pepper generously
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil

Rice Prep.

  • 4 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1/2 tbsp 7 spice
  • 1/2 tbsp Curry powder
  • Salt & pepper generously
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Lamb Broth 1.5 cups per 1 cup of jasmine rice

Lamb Prep Part 1.

  • 7 lbs of lamb shoulder cut into medium sized pieces about 12 pieces
  • Water
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 5 cardamom seeds
  • 2 dried lemon/lime
  • 3 tbsp 7 spice
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 2 tbsp mild curry
  • Salt & pepper generously

Meat Prep part 2.

  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 1/2 a lemon’s juice
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp 7 spice
  • 1 tbsp Curry Powder
  • Salt & pepper generously

Garnish

  • Toasted almonds/pine nuts
  • Chopped Parsley

Instructions

  • First, wash each piece of meat thoroughly under cold water and place in a large pot.
  • Fully cover the meat with water. Place on the stove and bring to a boil.
  • Once water is boiling, the meat will release excess residue to the top of the pot which you will carefully spoon off into a bowl or the sink so the water is fairly clear.
  • At this point, add the bay leaves, onion, dried lime, cardamom, curry, 7 spice, salt, and pepper. Bring the heat down to medium and allow for this to cook for 1 hour 45 minutes. Then, check on it and take a piece out. If it easily falls apart in your hands then it is tender enough. If not, put back for another 15 minutes.
  • Once meat is ready, take the pieces out of the broth and place in a large pan. Save the broth.
  • Saute the peas and carrots in olive oil with the seasonings for a few minutes.
  • Now, rinse the rice and add the spices to it along with the peas and carrots. In a pot, add the olive oil to the bottom and then the rice and then the sifted lamb broth from the meat. I use 1.5 cups of broth per 1 cup of rice. Let this come to a boil then a simmer until rice is cooked. Add more broth if necessary.
  • Then, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, salt, pepper, 7 spice, and curry powder from part 2 of lamb prep and pour it over the cooked meat. Cover in aluminum foil and bake at 330 F for 10-15 minutes.
  • Also, saute some slivered almonds and pine nuts in a tbsp of olive oil until golden brown and set aside.
  • Plate this dish by first putting the rice layer then the pieces of meat garnished with the nuts and parsley. Serve with yogurt and salad.

Notes

*USDA recommends lamb reach an internal temperature of 145F with a 3-minute rest.

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