Gulf News' Your Ramadan Table' food show: Lamb tacos with guacamole and pickled onions

Gulf News' Your Ramadan Table' food show: Lamb tacos with guacamole and pickled onions

Also, Chef John Buenaventura has a recipe for Jalapeno mojitos that pairs well with tacos

Video Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/ Gulf News

Preparation time: 2 to 3 hours

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4 to 5


1 kg lamb shanks

2 cups tomato pulp

100 gms onion

20 gms garlic

50 gms carrots

50 gms celery

10 gms cumin powder

10 gms coriander powder

10 gms oregano

5 gms turmeric powder

10 gms chipotle chilli

Corn tortillas

Salt and pepper to taste


2 avocados

30 gms tomato

20 ml lime

20 gms red onions

10 gms coriander leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Pickled onions

200 gms red onion

100 ml white vinegar

30 gms sugar

5 gms salt

Jalapeno mojitos

2 lime

30 gms mint leaves

1 tbsp brown sugar

200 ml tonic water

20 gms jalapenos (thinly sliced)


First, marinate the lamb shanks by mixing a pinch of turmeric powder, black pepper, salt, chipotle chilli, cumin powder, and corn oil. Rub the mixture onto the lamb shanks and let them rest for 2 to 3 hours, preferably overnight.

After the lamb shanks have rested, heat a cast iron pan over a medium flame and sear them for about 15 to 20 minutes. While searing, add a few crushed garlic pods, chopped jalapenos, onions, carrots, and celery to the pan. Sauté the vegetables and add ½ tablespoon of chipotle to them. Then, add tomatoes, followed by some chicken or lamb stock, to the pan. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes before transferring it to the oven.

Preheat the oven to 160°C and place the lamb shanks in it for 2 hours, checking periodically for even cooking.

Once the lamb shanks are cooked, remove them from the oven and pull out the fleshy part, including the fat, but keep the bones aside.

Next, sauté the lamb meat in a saucepan with one tablespoon of corn oil over a medium flame. Add some chopped garlic and sauté until golden brown. Then, add the lamb with cooked sauce and simmer it until the meat absorbs all the sauce. Add ¼ teaspoon of cumin powder to the meat and stir. Keep it aside.

Meanwhile, to prepare guacamole, scoop out the avocados into a bowl and mash them. Add chopped tomatoes, roughly chopped coriander leaves, chopped onions, one tablespoon of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add jalapeno to the guacamole if you'd like.

For the pickled onions, take a saucepan and mix 200 ml of white vinegar, 50 grams of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Once it boils, add sliced red onions and simmer for a few minutes. Stir it well. As it heats up, the onions change colour, and the raw smell of the onions dissipates. Remove the onions from the mixture and keep them aside. Refrigerate the pickled onions in an airtight container, and they will last for about one week.

To go with the tacos, prepare Jalapeno Mojitos. In a glass, add a few wedges of limes, a handful of mint leaves, one tablespoon of sugar, and use a muddler to crush the lime and mint. Add tonic water and 2 to 3 slices of jalapeno chillies per glass. Mix it well. Take a serving glass, add some ice cubes, and pour the Jalapeno Mojitos.

To assemble the tacos, heat the tortilla in a pan and spread guacamole on it. Add a spoonful of braised lamb and top it with pickled onions and jalapeno chilli slices (optional). On the side, serve it with a lime wedge.


Always toast seeds and nuts before using them in any dishes.

Use only tomato flesh and avoid the core to prevent the guacamole from becoming too watery

You can use red or white onions for the guacamole.

To make lamb stock, add peppercorns, lamb shanks, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

Food is not just about nourishment; it's an expression of love and creativity. This recipe for braised lamb tacos with pickled onions and guacamole is a perfect example of how food can bring people together and create memories that last a lifetime. Even though this recipe takes some time, once you taste it, you will know it's worth it.

- Chef John Buenaventura, Executive Chef and Host of Your Ramadan Table by Gulf News

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