A popular evening dish, particularly if visitors are expected, mash-wee
feeds many mouths and is relatively simple to prepare, although the
cooking time is quite lengthy. If the mesh-wee is being served on an
important occasion, or when guests are visiting, a lamb is always
slaughtered and presented first. The head always goes to the honoured
guest. The eyes, brain and tongue are delicacies and there is an ancient
Bedouin trick for removing the brain with the two jaw bones.
Mesh-wee can be served with a side dish of rice, but traditionally, it is
served on a large round tray and covered with ra-gagg until ready to be eaten.
The lamb is eaten with the right hand and accompaniments of dates,
yoghurt, buttermilk, radishes and watercress are arranged in dishes and
placed on the right hand side. The lamb may also be cooked without the
1 small lamb (14-18 lbs; 6.3-8.0 kgs)
Salt to taste
7 tablespoons bezar
2 teaspoons saffron
1/2 cup samen
6 cups boiled yellow split peas
1 cup sultanas
1 cup whole blanched almonds
1 cup whole unsalted raw cashews
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 whole cardamom pods
5 x 2" (5cm) pieces cinnamon bark
8 whole cloves
6 fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup seman
salt to taste
Soak the saffron in the lemon juice. Rinse the lamb inside and out.
Wipe dry with paper towel. Rub the flesh with salt and bezar, pour the
lemon and saffron mix over and rub in well. Leave to marinate for 30
minutes. (This can also be prepared and left to marinate overnight).
Prepare stuffing: slice onions and fry in oil until brown. Add spices
and nuts and continue till all are brown. Add peas and sultanas and fry
gently, then shop tomatoes and add to mix. Cover the cook for 7 to 10
minutes on a low heat.
Remove from cooker and stuff the belly of the lamb. Stitch with strong
thread. Rub the samen into the lamb skin. Place in a large roasting pan
and cook in a moderate oven for 5-6 hours. Check occasionally, baste
with more samen if necessary. When the meat falls apart from the bone,
the lamb is ready. Serve hot with ra-gagg.
The lamb can also be wrapped in aluminium foil and placed on hot coals,
turning from time to time. It will take from 10 to 12 hours to cook
through, thus the coals will have to be replenished every few hours.