Ramadan Favourites: Tajine Hlou

Learn the ways a chef would cook in your kitchen. For the love of home-cooked meals during the Holy Month of Ramadan, Chef Francesco Dimonte, Head Chef at Ballaro of Conrad Dubai, shared his version of the 3 famous Arabic dishes.

In addition, we’ve got a unique take on Kibbeh by The Right Bite Nutrition Centre. All you have to do is follow the instructions.


– 2kg lamb neck fillets

– 75g olive oil

– 200g onions, cut into thin wedges

– 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

– 15g ground cumin

– 15g  ground coriander

– 5g  hot chilli powder

– 5g ground turmeric

– Large pinch of saffron

– 2 cinnamon sticks

– 2 preserved lemons (from a jar), drained and cut into thin wedges

– 300g ready-to-eat dried apricots

– 250g ready-to-eat dried pitted dates

– 100g shelled pistachios

– 30g rosewater

– 25g cornflour

– Small bunch of coriander, leaves roughly chopped


Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Trim the lamb of any hard fat, cut into chunks and season all over. Heat 25 g of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the lamb in 3-4 batches over a high heat for 1-2 mins until lightly colored. Add 25 g oil between each batch and transfer to a bowl each time a batch is browned.

Heat the remaining oil in the same dish over a medium heat and fry the onions for 5 mins or until softened and lightly colored. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, turmeric, 1 tsp ground black pepper and 1 tsp flaked sea salt. Cook for 1 min, stirring. Return the lamb to the dish and add 1.5 liters of water, the saffron, cinnamon and lemons. Bring to a simmer, stirring a few times. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour

Carefully remove the dish from the oven and stir in the apricots, dates and half the pistachios, then cover once more and return to the oven. Cook for a further 30 mins or until the lamb is very tender.

Transfer the dish to the hob and adjust the seasoning to taste. Mix the cornflour with the rosewater and 50 cold water, then stir into the tagine. Cook over a medium heat for 1-2 mins or until the sauce thickens. (Thickening the sauce with corn flour isn’t traditional but helps the tagine freeze more successfully.) When ready to serve, roughly chop the remaining nuts and sprinkle over the top. Garnish with coriander and serve with couscous or rice.