Lamb «Shawarma»


This is the closest thing to eating a Shawarma wrap at Maroush restaurant in London. Baked whole, rubbed with lots of aromatic spices, the lamb retains it’s juiciness. And after 4 hours in the oven, it becomes melt-in-your-mouth soft. Serve it wrapped in pita bread with tahini paste, or plain, as the main attraction on your Sunday table.


  • 1 leg of lamb, whole
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns, whole
  • 5 cloves, whole
  • ½ tsp cardamoms pods, bruised
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, whole
  • 1 Tbs cumin seeds, whole
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1 Tbs sumac
  • ½ Tbs salt
  • 5 cm fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil


In a dry pan, over medium heat, fry the black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, fennel, cumin and cinnamon, stirring all the time, until fragrant and slightly darker in colour. Be careful not to burn the spices as they become bitter. Grind very well in a blender along with the nutmeg, paprica and sumac. Add the salt, ginger, garlic, coriander, lemon juice and olive oil. Blend until a paste forms.

Put leg of lamb in a roasting pan. With a sharp knife make 4-5 deep (2cm) diagonal slashes on the meat. Wear plastic gloves and rub the paste all over the lamb. Massage well all sides. Leave lamb to marinate over night if you have time. If not, a couple of hours would be enough.

Preheat oven 160 C. Bake the lamb uncovered for half an hour. Then pour 1 cup boiling water around the lamb and cover tightly with two layers of foil. Lower the heat to 150 C. Bake for 3 ½ hours. Let the meat stand for ten minutes, before uncovering. Use two forks to thread the lamb. Serve lamb with the pan juices, tahini paste, and cucumber/tomato/parsley/onion salad, sprinkled with extra sumac.

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