Skoudehkaris Recipe of Djibouti | Djiboutian Lamb and Rice Dish Recipe

Skoudehkaris, the national dish of Djibouti, is a savory and aromatic delight that reflects the rich culinary heritage of this East African country. This traditional dish Skoudehkaris , loved by locals and appreciated by visitors, combines fragrant spices, tender meat, and fluffy rice to create a memorable dining experience. Let's delve into the recipe and explore the ingredients along with their quantities needed to prepare this flavorful Skoudehkaris at home.

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Skoudehkaris Recipe of Djibouti - Recipica

Ingredients of Skoudehkaris:

  • Long grain Rice: 2 cups
  • Lamb Meat (or Goat): 500 grams, cubed
  • Onion: 1 large, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 4-5 cloves, minced
  • Ginger: 1-inch piece, grated
  • Tomato: 2 medium-sized, chopped
  • Vegetable Oil: 3-4 tablespoons
  • Water or Broth: 4 cups
  • Salt: to taste
  • Black Pepper: 1 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
  • Cumin Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Stick: 1 inch
  • Cardamom Pods: 3-4, lightly crushed
  • Cloves: 2-3
  • Bay Leaf: 1
  • Fresh Coriander (Cilantro): for garnish

Instructions of Making Skoudehkaris:

1. Prepare the Meat:
  • In a large pot or pressure cooker, heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add chopped onions to the oil and sauté until it becomes golden brown.
  • Add minced garlic, grated ginger, and stir for a minute until fragrant.
  • Add cubed lamb meat (or goat) to the pot and brown it on all sides.
2. Add Spices and Tomatoes:
  • Once the meat is browned, add chopped tomatoes to the pot and cook until they soften and release their juices.
  • Add salt, black pepper, cumin powder, turmeric powder, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, and bay leaf to the pot. Mix well to coat the meat with the spices.
3. Cook the Meat:
  • Pour water or broth into the pot, enough to cover the meat completely.
  • If using a pressure cooker, secure the lid and cook the meat for about 20-25 minutes until tender. If using a regular pot, cover and simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours until the meat is fork-tender.
4. Prepare the Rice:
  • Rinse the  rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Take another pot and  bring water to a boil in it and add a pinch of salt.
  • Add the rinsed rice to the boiling water and cook until it's 70-80% done. Drain the rice and set aside.
5. Combine Meat and Rice:
  • Once the meat is tender and the broth is flavorful, add the partially cooked rice to the pot with the meat.
  • Mix gently to combine the rice and meat without breaking the rice grains.
6. Cook the Skoudehkaris:
  • Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let the Skoudehkaris cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked and absorbs the flavors of the meat and spices.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper if require.
7. Serve and Garnish:
  • Once cooked, transfer the Skoudehkaris to a serving dish.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) on top for added freshness and aroma.
8. Enjoy the Flavorful Skoudehkaris:
  • Skoudehkaris is best enjoyed hot, straight from the pot.
  • Serve it with a side of salad, yogurt, or pickles to complement the flavors of this delectable Djiboutian dish.
Note: You can customize the spice levels of Skoudehkaris according to your preference. Adjust the amount of black pepper, chili powder, or other spices to suit your taste buds. This recipe serves as a hearty meal that brings together the essence of Djibouti's culinary traditions, making it a favorite among families and food enthusiasts alike.

Skoudehkaris not only tantalizes the taste buds but also represents the cultural richness and hospitality of Djibouti. Its warm and comforting flavors make it a perfect dish for family gatherings, festive occasions, and celebrations.

Variations and Serving Suggestions:

While the basic Skoudehkaris recipe remains true to its traditional roots, you can experiment with variations to suit your preferences or dietary needs:

1. Vegetarian Version: Replace the meat with vegetables like carrots, peas, and bell peppers to create a delicious vegetarian Skoudehkaris.

2. Seafood Twist: For seafood lovers, you can add shrimp, fish, or calamari to the dish for a delightful seafood Skoudehkaris.

3. Spice Blend: Customize the spice blend by adding paprika, coriander powder, or a pinch of saffron for a unique flavor profile.

4. Garnishes: Besides fresh coriander, you can garnish the Skoudehkaris with fried onions, toasted almonds, or raisins for added texture and visual appeal.

5. Accompaniments: Serve Skoudehkaris with a side of tangy tomato chutney, cucumber yogurt raita, or a refreshing green salad to balance the richness of the dish.

Cultural Significance:

In Djibouti, Skoudehkaris holds a special place in cultural celebrations and gatherings. It brings families and communities together, symbolizing unity and sharing. The process of cooking Skoudehkaris often involves family members working together, creating a sense of togetherness and bonding.


Skoudehkaris is more than just a meal; it's a representation of heritage, flavors, and the art of cooking passed down through generations. Whether you're exploring Djiboutian cuisine for the first time or looking to recreate a taste of home, Skoudehkaris promises a memorable culinary experience that reflects the heart and soul of Djibouti's food culture. Gather your ingredients, embrace the spices, and savor every bite of this delightful dish with your loved ones. Bon appétit!

Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Skoudehkaris

FAQ 1 : What is Skoudehkaris?

Skoudehkaris is the national dish of Djibouti, a flavorful and aromatic rice dish prepared with meat (often lamb or goat ) and a blend of spices.

FAQ 2 : What makes Skoudehkaris unique?

Skoudehkaris stands out for its use of fragrant spices like cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon, along with tender meat and fluffy rice, creating a savory and satisfying dish.

FAQ 3 : Is Skoudehkaris spicy?

The spiciness of Skoudehkaris can be adjusted according to personal preference. While it has a blend of spices, you can control the heat level by adjusting the amount of black pepper or adding chili powder.

FAQ 4 : Can Skoudehkaris be made vegetarian?

Yes, you can create a vegetarian version of Skoudehkaris by substituting meat with vegetables like carrots, peas, and bell peppers. The spices and cooking method remain similar.

FAQ 5 : What are common accompaniments for Skoudehkaris?

Skoudehkaris is often served with side dishes such as tomato chutney, cucumber yogurt raita, or a fresh green salad. These accompaniments complement the flavors of the dish.

FAQ 6 : How long does it take to cook Skoudehkaris?

The cooking time for Skoudehkaris can vary based on the method used. Typically, cooking the meat and spices together may take around 1.5 to 2 hours for tender meat, while the rice cooking process adds another 15-20 minutes for a complete dish.

Recipe Card
Cuisine: Djiboutian, Course: Main Course, Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes, Total Time:  1 hour 45 minutes, Servings: 4 People 

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