Tavë kosi (Albanian baked lamb and rice with yogurt)

16 Dec

tave kosi

Tavë kosi – Albania’s national dish of lamb and rice baked beneath a layer of yogurt custard – reminded me a lot of moussaka. And the Albanian tomato cucumber salad I served with it was essentially a Greek salad. The vegetables were cut differently, and the recipe didn’t call for lemon juice or oregano, but those are details.

I looked at a few recipes for tavë kosi, and ended up more or less following this one from the Saveur website. Tasty enough on the day, but actually made a better leftover…

Tavë kosi
(serves 4 generously)

  • 4 Tb butter
  • 1/2 Tb olive oil
  • 500g boneless lamb shoulder, cubed
  • 6 Tb flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 200ml water
  • 1/4 cup basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, minced
  • 500g tub Greek yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  1. Heat a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high and melt 2 Tb butter with the olive oil.
  2. Toss the lamb cubes with 2 Tb flour and season well. Add to the saucepan and cook until the meat is browned, about ten minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, water and rice. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer for twenty minutes, or until the rice is tender. The liquid should be pretty much absorbed.
  4. Stir in the oregano, season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a casserole dish and set aside.
  5. Heat the oven to 375°F (190°C, gas mark 5).
  6. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 Tb of butter. Whisk in the remaining 4 Tb of flour and cook, continuing to whisk, for a couple of minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the Greek yogurt, eggs and nutmeg.
  8. Pour the yogurt sauce evenly over the meat in the casserole dish. Bake until the top is golden and set and the lamb is tender (45-60 minutes).

3 Responses to “Tavë kosi (Albanian baked lamb and rice with yogurt)”

  1. Yana December 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    It sounds and looks delicious! It reminds me of South African dish called Bobotie. I love the savoury custard layer! 🙂

    • Andrea December 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks, Yana! I’ve heard of bobotie, but haven’t cooked it as yet. I’ll keep it in mind for when we get round to cooking something from South Africa… 🙂

  2. Bec J. H. December 16, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    That sounds great! I love moussaka, so I’m keen to try this 🙂

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