Rice noodles with lamb shanks and fava beans

March 12, 2011  •  Category:


I write this post with a heavy heart towards those of us in Japan enduring the tragic reality of this tsunami. Hope the largest number of people can and will be saved.

This dish is a Near East meets Far East concoction; I made it over two days (preparing the lamb broth the day before) and it was gone in less than 30 minutes.

Just make some lamb shanks in a broth (that is the Lebanese way); then strain the broth, and cook the fava beans in it and finally the rice noodles. Add some seasonings (lots of garlic, soya sauce) and call it a day!

The key in this dish is to make a flavorful lamb broth: I added lots of herbs, boiling onions, seven-spice seasoning and some diced tomatoes. Season the lamb according to your taste and wishes.


  • 3 lamb shanks
  • 1 pound of tomatoes or a large can of diced tomatoes (tomatoes peeled and diced and seeded)
  • 1 bunch of parsley or coriander or any herb of your choice
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic (cloves peeled and mashed in a mortar with some salt)
  • soy sauce, to taste
  • 8 ounces of rice noodles
  • 2 cups of frozen fava beans (can use fresh)
  • 2 cups of boiling onions (can use 2 large onions)


  1. Make a broth with the lamb shanks: clean and dry the shanks. Season with salt, pepper and seven-spice or cinnamon, allspice, and other spices of your taste. Fry in a tablespoon of olive oil on all sides till browned; add 6 cups of water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for one hour, adding diced tomatoes after about 30 minutes of simmering. When the lamb shanks are falling off the bone turn off the heat and strain the broth. Cut the lamb shanks in bite-size morsels and set aside on a plate.
  2. Fry a bit of olive oil in the pot and add the boiling onions, browning them a bit; add the strained stock, some fava beans and the mashed garlic. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Add the rice sticks and simmer for a few minutes, add some soy sauce and let the noodles absorb the broth and take on the flavor of soy and garlic.
  3. Add the lamb morsels at the end and serve with additional soy sauce on the side.


I peeled the fava beans after they were cooked as their skin is too thick and hard to digest.


25 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Ivy says:

    I’ve never eaten fresh fava beans before. This summer I must definitely try them.

  2. Magic of Spice says:

    I love the spices you have used here…sounds like a wonderful dish. One of my sons enjoys lamb and I am sure would love this.
    I am hoping the same for those affected my this horrible disaster…

  3. Lyndsey says:

    I am really liking you Asian infuenced dishes. This sounds wonderful. We had rice noodles just the other night, with crispy tofu and chinese broccoli, and I like to add tahini to mine…along with the soy, oyster sauce and garlic/ginger paste. I would love to make some lamb shanks the Lebanese way

  4. Nadji says:

    Il ne se passe pas un jour sans une catastrophe, qu’elle soit naturelle ou humaine. C’est terrible.
    Heureusement qu’il y a la cuisine pour nous remonter le morale.
    Bonne recette.
    Bon week-end et à très bientôt.

  5. lisaiscooking says:

    I’m anxiously awaiting fava beans! They are possibly my favorite thing about spring. This looks like a fantastic spring meal!

  6. Joanne says:

    This lamb looks beautiful and is such a lovely tribute to the tragic situation in Japan.

  7. arthur says:

    I love fava beans. I grow them twice a year. They are perfect for your lamb shank dish. Don’t they look absolutely delicious! Now I know what to make when I harvest them in May. Thanks for this really fresh idea. Cheers!

  8. Janso says:

    I like make up my own 7 spice powder, it imparts more flavor than the store bought brands…

    3 Tbsp ground allspice
    1 Tbsp ground coriander
    1 Tbsp ground cumin
    1 1/2 tsp ground peppercorns
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1/2 tsp cloves

    Mix all the spices together. Makes about 1/4 of a cup.

    • Joumana says:

      @Janso: Thanks so much for sharing your recipe! Sounds like it would be extra!

      @Lael: It is simply out of laziness, I find the little darlings easier to peel once cooked! 🙂

  9. Louise says:

    The tragedy in Japan is still unfolding- I can’t believe how bad it is. This recipe looks fabulous. Sadly it’s autumn in Australia, and we have a long six month wait til we see broad beans again.

  10. Lael Hazan says:

    I adore fava beans and your east meets west concoction sounds delightful. Why do you cook the fava beans and then peal them? I always peel fresh fava beans before cooking. Do they impart more flavor your way?

  11. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Japan has been on my mind, too. Such devastation.

    I’ve never prepared fresh fava beans before; they are a sure sign of spring in the States!

  12. Claudia says:

    I love the idea fo creating ths broth for the dish. I am always looking for something new to do with lamb shanks. Although getting fresh fava beans is months away. Also praying for Japan. Each day brings sadder news.

  13. fimère says:

    une recette délicieuse et riche en saveurs, j’aime beaucoup l’idée
    bonne journée

  14. FOODESSA says:

    Fava beans may not be my favourite, however, Joumana you’ve just given me a great idea on how else I could be cooking my dry beans. I usually use the bean water to make recipes with or cook them straight in the soup…but never the other way around. Hmmm…why haven’t I done that?
    Did I tell you lately how much I appreciate your simplistic culinary ways?
    This dish looks wonderful ;o)

    My thoughts are very much with the Japanese and here’s hoping that the human damage is not too high after the dust has settled. We could only pray for them and their families.

    Ciao for now,

  15. domi says:

    Voilà de bonnes pâtes à dégustées sans faire de chinoiseries. Une assiette gourmande pleine de saveurs….passe une douce soirée

  16. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    This sounds like a perfect dish to have, I’ll have to try the fava beans next time they’re in season 🙂

  17. Joan Nova says:

    Lamb shanks are the best fall-off-the-bone meat. I like your idea to pair them with fava beans and noodles.

  18. tigerfish says:

    I absolutely love every part of this dish. I have not tried fresh fava beans though. I wish to!

  19. Caffettiera says:

    I’m happy to find out I am not the only one thinking that Middle East and Far East contaminations can work. I can’t have enough of noodles.

  20. oum mouncifrayan says:

    très belle idée cette recette, le résultat est très appétissant..

  21. Oui, Chef says:

    Mmmm…this dish is loaded with flavors and textures I love, and would defintely be one that the whole family would love, thanks for the inspiration! – S

  22. Asia Janczak says:

    Gosh! This sounds like a perfect dish for my husband who LOVES lamb and noodles so much! Thanks for sharing!

  23. domi says:

    Voilà un délicieux plat qui promet d’ être extremement gourmand et savoureux avec un p’tit parfum d’

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