Babylonian Cooking

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Babylonian lamb stew with beets


  • 1 pound of diced leg of mutton or lamb
  • 1/2 cup of rendered sheep fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of beer
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped arugula
  • 1 cup of Persian shallots or spring onions
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 pound of fresh red beets, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup of chopped leek
  • 2 cloves of garlic

For the garnish:

  • 2 teaspoons of dry coriander seed
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped kurrat or ramps/wild leek


  1. Heat the fat in a pot wide enough for the diced lamb to spread in one layer.
  2. Add lamb and sear on high heat until all moisture evaporates.
  3. Fold in the onion, and keep cooking until it is almost transparent.
  4. Fold in red beet, arugula, cilantro, Persian shallots and cumin. Keep on folding until the moisture evaporates and ingredients emit a pleasant aroma.
  5. Pour in the beer. Add water. Give the pot a light stir. Bring the pot to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and add leek and garlic that you crush in a mortar.
  7. Let the stew simmer until the sauce thickens after about an hour.
  8. Chop kurrat and fresh cilantro and pound it into a paste using a mortar.
  9. Ladle the stew into plates and sprinkle with dry coriander seed and the kurrat and cilantro paste. The dish can be served with steamed bulgur and naan-bread.

Recipe by Gojko Barjamovic and Nawal Nashrallah

Babylonian cooking