Lamb Shawarma

Another great Middle Eastern dish I like to make (and by Ottolenghi of course!) is this wonderful Lamb Shawarma from yet again his book Jerusalem.

It is a perfect choice for a Sunday lunch and provides a mountain of tasty, tender lamb to pick at. I’m pretty sure there is often more eaten before the Sharwama’s are made than are on them!

This one takes patience, but the actual marinade is so easy to make, and the oven does the rest for you, leaving plenty of time to get on with your lock-down activities.

Lamb Shawarma (Serves 8)


2 tsp Black Peppercorns
5 Cloves
½ tsp Cardamom Pods
¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 Star Anise
½ Cinnamon Stick
½ Nutmeg, Grated
¼ tsp Ground Ginger
1 tbsp Sweet Paprika
1 tbsp Sumac
¾ tbsp Maldon Sea Salt
25g Fresh Ginger, grated
3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
40g Coriander, chopped, stems and leaves included
60ml Lemon juice
125ml Groundnut Oil
1 Leg of Lamb, on the bone, about 2.5 – 3kg


  1. Put the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, fenugreek, fennel, cumin, star anise and cinnamon in a cast-iron pan set over medium-high heat and dry-roast them for a minute or two, until the spices begin to pop and release their aromas. Take care not to burn them.
  2. Add the nutmeg, ground ginger and paprika, and toss for a few more seconds, just to heat them, then transfer to a spice grinder. Process the spices into powder.
  3. Transfer to a medium bowl, and stir in the sumac, salt, fresh ginger, garlic, coriander, lemon juice and oil, and stir to combine.
  4. Use a small sharp knife to score the leg of lamb in a few places, making 1.5cm deep slits through the fat and meat.
  5. Put the lamb in a large roasting tin and rub the marinade all over it, using your hands to massage the meat.
  6. Turn the lamb fat-side up, cover the tin with foil and place it aside for at least a couple of hours, or preferably chill overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 170C / 150C Fan / Gas Mark 3.5.
  8. Remove the aluminium foil, and place the lamb in the oven.
  9. Roast for approximately 4 1/2 hours, or until the meat is completely tender.
  10. After 30 minutes of roasting, add about a cup of boiling water to the pan, and use this liquid to baste the meat every hour or so. (Add more water, as needed, making sure there is always about 0.5cm in the bottom of the tin.)
  11. For the last 3 hours or so, cover the lamb with foil to prevent the spices from burning.
  12. Once the lamb is done, remove it from the oven, and leave to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Now to serve this, Ottolenghi recommends using Pitta Breads (I only had flat-breads – we are in lock down after all!) smeared with a healthy helping of a delicious tomato paste, topped with a tahini dressing, finely chopped red onion, a sprinkling of chopped sumac and some chopped parsley. I’ve popped the recipes for the Tomato Paste below:

Tomato Paste


120g tinned chopped Tomatoes
20g Harissa Paste
20g Tomato Puree
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper


  1. Mix all the ingredients together!

I served my delicious Sharwarma with a side of Israeli Salad, a simple side dish of finely diced salad comprising of cucumber, tomatoes and onion dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice. Put all the dishes on the table and let everyone dig in and construct their own!


  1. Yum! This looks soo good – I’ve been wanting to make some middle eastern food and this looks like the perfect recipe! thanks for sharing


    1. It’s very tasty and a firm favourite in this house! Enjoy!

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