Recipe: Harvest Stew | Dimlama

If it were up to me, every gardener would know about Dimlama, the Uzbek one-pot answer to harvest-time (no canning required). While every Uzbek family makes it a little differently, potatoes, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes are standard fare, as is a hearty sprinkling of whole cumin seeds.

The key to dimlama rests in the layering. First of all, lamb is browned, then onions are added in the mix. One they submit to browning, the remaining vegetables are layered (and, once they’re added, you never stir the pot!). The final layer is always cabbage, which helps seal in the moisture.

When the vegetables release their juices, they drip down to the bottom of the pan and deglaze all those nummy browned bits.

The result?

A luscious brown gravy worthy of being sopped up by a nice piece of Central Asian Yogurt Naan.

Serves 6


1/2-1 lb cubed lamb or beef
1 large onion, sliced in quarter moons
5 small yellow potatoes cut in half
2-3 large carrots, peeled & sliced
2 red peppers, sliced in strips
2 large tomatoes, cut in wedges
5 cloves garlic, quartered
3 green onions, sliced
1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 small, green cabbage cut in hunks
salt & pepper, as needed


First, let’s brown the lamb and onion in oil. You want to get it really good and toasty, as that’s the main source of dimlama’s flavor.

Next, layer on the veggies, being sure to season with salt and pepper as you go.

First, the potatoes, carrots, and peppers.

Next, the tomatoes, garlic, green onion, and cumin seed.

Finally, the cabbage. You’ll want to cut the cabbage in large wedges, then peel off the outer leaves to cover any gaps along the surface of the dimlama.

Cover tightly and simmer gently until all the vegetables are tender. Do not stir!
Some recipes say 1 1/2 hours, but I found mine took closer to 2 1/2 hours.
The cabbage takes the longest, so use that as your indicator of doneness.
Garnish with fresh cilantro, as desired.

Enjoy with a smile, a friend, and happy conversation!

While you eat, pay attention to all those amazing layers of flavor, perhaps while looking at an entirely different sort of layering.


Kalta Minor, in Khiva (Uzbekistan). Photo by TwoWings.

P.S. Do you see the people in this picture!?

Really gives a sense of the scale!

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  1. Oh my goodness! This looks amazing! Very comforting on a chilly fall evening. I will be making this for sure!

  2. The perfect dish for the season, this must be tried indeed!

  3. Judi Suttles says:

    Sasha this looks very interesting. I love Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations trip to Uzbekistand where he
    attended an Uzbek wedding. They seved plav which he loved.

  4. This sounds SO good! I just added the ingredients we need to the shopping list – I can’t wait to give it a try! You had me at lamb :) but the veggie side of this really appeals to me too.

  5. aunty eileen says:

    This is one of my favorite kind of meal…. yum, yum, yum and simple, simple, simple and healthy, healthy, healthy and one pot/easy and swift cleanup and relatively inexpensive for feeding a family or crowd and I would make enough for leftovers/another meal during the week.

    • aunty eileen says:

      ps, yes, those structures are huge and beautiful… I am intrigued with the one (1) small window/opening in the tower????

  6. Is the pan you used cast iron? Thanks!

  7. Wanda Batman says:

    I tried this today and it is DELICIOUS! I had to improvise as much to my surprise I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes so I used a can of chopped tomatoes. I cooked it covered for like 2 1/2 hours on low, cooled it and today reheated it. Great taste and the cabbage really makes it.
    Very reminiscent of Syrian kawaj.
    Will make again and again.
    Thanks, love your blog

  8. I am making it right now! I hope it turns out good!!


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