Recipe: Skoudehkaris

Serves 4

Suffering from 1 digit weather? Ice, snow, and rain? What about sleet? Let’s warm things up with Skoudehkaris. Known as the national dish of Djibouti, this heavy stew is a spicy, comforting treat. The bonus? It’ll make your house smell amazing.


1 lb lamb, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup water, plus extra as needed
1/2 cup long-grain rice
salt & pepper


Put on your beret Рtoday you are going to be an artist, painting flavor with spices.  (Trust me, the beret is totally appropriate: Djibouti has been heavily influenced by France Рit was French ruled until 1977)

So.. like I said, get out your beret. Here is your¬†palette… the warm colors of cumin, cloves, cardamom, cayenne, and cinnamon.

Heat it up in a large pot or skillet with lid with ghee (or oil) and onions. Cook until soft and fragrant.

Try not to pass out from the wonderful aromas filling your home.

Add in the lamb and brown it a little (push the onions out of the way so that the meat can get contact with the pan)

Next, add in the tomatoes and water.

Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the lamb is tender.

You can serve this brothy lamb stew on top of laxoox (yummy yeast-risen flatbread)… and enjoy!

NOTE: You can simmer it uncovered if you want a drier stew.

Now, for those brave souls who feel like one more tiny step… read on!

Let’s make a true Skoudekaris:

Add rice to pan and splash in extra water – maybe 1/2 cup.

Stir, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes – or until the rice is tender.

That’s it! Then, instead of a brothy stew, you’ll have a full meal for 4 and only one dirty pot.

That’s something worth celebrating.


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  1. I feel for you with the single digits. It had not crept about 30 below here for weeks, then last night it went up to 37 above. I kid you not, I went outside to get wood in a long sleeve t-shirt and it felt warm.
    I absolutely love one pot meals.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Whoa… wow. 30 below??? It really hasn’t been too bad here so far this winter. We had a crazy warm day yesterday – around 60F I think. I know what you mean about dressing like it’s summer when it warms up a bit in winter. Love those days.

  2. Here we are in the morning in France, not quite as cold as in Tulsa, but still chilly.
    That stew looks sooo delish! You are right; it is the season for stewed meats. I like what I see here( even early in the morn’).

    Have a great day!

  3. Stupid question, where do you find lamb and what do you look for in a good piece? I have never tried it and this recipe looks amazing! Do you think it would survive in a slow cooker?

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I would add extra water (maybe 1/2-1 cup) as it has a tendency to dry out. Lamb is like beef – it should be fresh looking – bright, moist, reddish-brown in color. Obviously no funny smells or colors. You can ask them to cube it for you – they usually do it from somewhere on the leg. I think most supermarkets would have it (?) but we also have Harvard Meats and the other market near 11 and Lewis. Also, Whole Foods has it. Good luck. Let us know how it comes out and what adjustments you made for the slow cooker.

  4. Hey!

    I’m into Skoudehkaris and Djibouti this week. Do you have any tips for me?

    Hope all is well with you!


    • Sasha Martin says:

      Hey Joe! Thanks for stopping by :) Hmmm, check out my meal review for this one. This dish was pretty straightforward. Play around with the ingredients until you get something you like. If I remember correctly this one was rather spicy – my husband loved it. Good luck! Let me know how it goes :)

    • Topdeckone says:

      It is actually Somali food and it bears no relation to the French colonialists and their vulgar ways. LOL!!!!

  5. Ed Mulrenan says:

    Just made this last night after getting lamb at the store last week and not knowing what we should make with it. So I searched lamb here and came across this recipe.

    It was delicious and the house smelled great, would definitely make it again.

  6. Just made this yesterday with beef. It was actually my first time using most of those spices. I really liked it though my husband and I both found something missing (I thought it was salt and he thought it was pepper). I had the left overs this morning for breakfast. I give it a thumbs up!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I’m so glad you liked it – you are totally right – salt and pepper make all the difference. Thanks for reporting back on how it went :)

  7. I am making this tonight (so we can eat it as our Thanksgiving Eve Wednesday night dinner), and I’m wondering if I cook with the rice is it overkill to serve with laxoox? If I want to serve laxoox, should I omit the rice? Just wondering.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Depends on how carb happy you want to be. You could always serve the laxoox with honey at the end for dessert… or you could make it for brunch tomorrow instead? I think the dish does need the rice for sure to be made as intended… hope that helps. Happy Thanksgiving :)

    • I don’t think laxoox is overkill with rice. I eat burritos filled with rice and meat all the time.

  8. Thanks for inspiring us for this month’s challenge in MENA cooking club. It was a pleasure for us having your recipe as a reference. Turned out great.


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