“This lamb shank recipe is truly celebratory. The meat is soft, sweet and almost falling off the bone, while the fragrant date and pomegranate sauce is rich and perfectly spiced,” says MasterChef 2017 winner, Saliha Mahmood Ahmed.

“While I completely appreciate that the Mughals [the inspiration for her new cookbook, Khazana] would typically have eaten rice instead of couscous, I cannot deny that it is the perfect accompaniment here.”

lamb shanks from Khazana by Saliha Mahmood Ahmed (Hodder and Stoughton/Kristin Perers/PA)
Lamb shanks (Hodder and Stoughton/Kristin Perers/PA)
lamb shanks from Khazana by Saliha Mahmood Ahmed (Hodder and Stoughton/Kristin Perers/PA)
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Nutrition Facts
Lamb shanks in pomegranate and date syrup with aubergine couscous
Amount Per Serving
Calories 952 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 127mg42%
Sodium 301mg13%
Potassium 1556mg44%
Carbohydrates 115g38%
Fiber 20g83%
Sugar 35g39%
Protein 59g118%
Vitamin A 227IU5%
Vitamin C 28mg34%
Calcium 162mg16%
Iron 9mg50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Lamb shanks in pomegranate and date syrup with aubergine couscous

A decadent, bejewelled dinner
Cook Time2 hours 25 minutes
Total Time2 hours 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Servings: 4
Calories: 952kcal
Author: Saliha Mahmood Ahmed


  • Casserole dish
  • Bowl
  • Frying pan


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger unpeeled
  • 4 French-trimmed lamb shanks (about 200–250g each)
  • 3 dried limes
  • 120 g dates
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • handful of pomegranate seeds to garnish

For the couscous:

  • 200 g couscous
  • 400 g chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 250 ml hot beef stock
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium aubergine cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • salt to taste


  • Heat the olive oil in a deep casserole dish and add the onion. Fry over a medium heat for about five minutes; when the onion starts turning golden, add the cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, chilli flakes and ginger. Cook the spices gently for a minute, being careful not to let them to burn.
  • Add the lamb shanks to the pan and brown them in the onions and spices, turning to brown all sides. Finally, add the dried limes and dates to the casserole dish with just enough warm water to cover the shanks (about 900ml). Increase the heat to bring the mixture to the boil, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the lamb to simmer for about two hours, or until it is tender to touch and practically falling off the bone.
  • Remove the casserole dish from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Gently remove the lamb shanks from the casserole dish with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the liquid in the casserole dish through a sieve, discarding the whole spices. Return the strained liquid to the casserole dish, add the pomegranate molasses and season to taste with salt. Place back over a medium heat to reduce the liquid to a sauce with the consistency of double cream.
  • Meanwhile, put the couscous and drained chickpeas into a bowl. Bring the stock to a boil and season with salt, then pour over the couscous. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
  • While the couscous is standing, heat half the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the aubergine cubes. Fry for about five minutes, or until they have caramelised and softened. Fluff the couscous grains using a fork and drizzle with the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice. Mix the fried aubergine into the couscous together with the parsley.
  • Return the lamb shanks to the sauce and heat through gently. Serve with the couscous, garnished with the remaining pomegranate seeds, if you like.


Calories: 952kcal | Carbohydrates: 115g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 301mg | Potassium: 1556mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 227IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 9mg

Khazana by Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, photography by Kristin Perers, is published by Hodder& Stoughton.

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