Lamb Shawarma – Another favourite recipe

This is a recipe I cook often because it’s so delicious and always goes down well with visitors. Its a very traditional Middle Eastern recipe and the lamb would normally be roasted on a rotating spit.

This is my first ‘vlog’ so please forgive any bloomers and let me have some feedback.

The Recipe


  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 ground grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 3/4 tbsp sea salt
  • 25g grated fresh ginger
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 40g chopped coriander stems and leaves
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 120ml groundnut oil
  • 1 leg or shoulder of lamb with bone 2.5 – 3kg


  1. Place the first 8 ingredients in a solid pan and dry roast on medium high for a minute or 2 until the spices begin to pop and release aromas
  2. Add nutmeg, ginger and paprika for a few seconds to heat through and transfer to a spice grinder and process to a powder
  3. Transfer to a largish bowl and add the remaining ingredients apart from the lamb
  4. Score the lamb with 1.5cm deep slits in a few places
  5. Place in a large roasting tin and rub the marinade all over the meat and massage into the slits and all over the lamb with your hands
  6. Cover with foil and leave to marinade in a refrigerator, preferably overnight but at least for a couple of hours
  7. When you are ready to cook preheat the oven to 170˚/150˚Fan/Gas mark 3.5
  8. Remove the foil and place the lamb in the oven with the marinated side up and roast for about 4.5hrs. until the meat is completely tender
  9. After 30 mins add about a cup of boiling water to the pan and use this to baste ever hour or so. Add more water if needed
  10. Replace the foil for the last 3 hours to prevent the spices from burning
  11. The lamb should be falling apart when its ready
Lamb shawarma
Lamb shawarma

Now how to serve

Well it’s a very versatile dish and there are a number of things to do

  • A not too traditional roast with roast potatoes etc. Top up the roasting juices with some wine,stock or water and reduce to thicken to a lovely jus.
  • With basmati rice and maybe a tomato and onion salad
  • With some warm, charred pitta which you line the pockets of with a mixture of 120g chopped tinned tomatoes, 20g harissa* paste, 20g tomato paste, 1tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Slice the lamb, fill the pitta pockets and top with chopped parsley and possibly some sumac*. Finish with chopped, fresh tomato and cucumber, lemon juice and olive oil. This is the traditional way

*harissa – This is a fiery North African paste. It’s a mixture of peppers, dried red chillies, garlic, caraway seeds, ground cumin and coriander, tomato purée, salt and olive oil

*sumac – comes from the berries of a wild bush that grows in all Mediterranean areas, especially in Sicily and southern Italy, and parts of the Middle East, notably Iran. It is an essential ingredient in Arabic cooking being preferred to lemon for sourness and astringency

Thank you Yotam and Sami for being my inspiration!


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