Sunday, January 27, 2008


675g meat, preferably from a leg of lamb or beef fillet, cut into 5mm (1/4 inch) strips
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cardomoms or 4-5 whole cardomoms
pinch of ground cloves, or 2-3 whole cloves
2-3 pieces of miskee, gently crushed to a powder with a little salt
4tbsp lemon juice
5tbsp organic cider vinegar
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt or to taste
¼ - ½ tsp grated orange zest
1 small tomato, peeled and very finely chopped, or shredded
1 small onion, finely grated
1 large Lebanese bread

For the tahini sauce:
5-6 tbsp lemon juice
120ml tahini
¼ tsp salt or to taste

Place the meat in a glass bowl. Season with the cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, white pepper, nutmeg, cardamoms and cloves. Add the miskee and toss with the lemon juice, vinegar, oil and salt. Add the orange zest, tomato and onion, mix thoroughly and leave to marinate, covered, in the fridge for 12-18 hours, tossing 2-3 times.
Preheat oven to 180c. Remove the meat from the fridge and allow it a little time to reach room temperature. Arrange the meat mixture in one layer on the base of a baking dish bake for about 30-40 min or until cooked through.
Meanwhile, prepare the tahini sauce. In a bowl gradually whisk the lemon juice into the tahini. Before the liquid thickens and while you are whisking add up to 5-6 tbsp of water (or you can use orange juice if liked) and the salt, the sauce should look like cream, neither too thin or too thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Preheat the grill. Remove the meat from the oven, place it 10cm/4inch away from the heat and grill for about 2-3 min or until nicely browned, turning the strips to brown both sides. Split a large Lebanese bread and place the meat inside the pocket.
Serve immediately with the tahini sauce or hummous, home made pickles, and with thinly sliced red onions sprinkled with 1 tbsp of sumac and topped with a handful or coarsely chopped parsley leaves

Another from New Flavours of the Lebanese Table .

I wanted to try this because my husband and both really love shawarma. There was a place where we used to get it in Brooklyn, and we found a good place to get it in London too, so I thought it would be great if I could just make it at home.

It didn’t come out quite as well as I had hoped, but that was really down to me and not the recipe. You are supposed to use strips of meat, not chunks. It makes a big difference in the way it takes the marinade, and in the way it cooks too. I knew this, but went ahead making it incorrectly anyway. I’m not sure why. I also covered it while it was cooking, even though it didn’t say to do so. I did that because I was worried that mine would dry out because I was using the wrongly cut meat. Unfortunately, that made a very overly soupy outcome.

Still once I did the last step (the grilling), the extra liquid problem was taken care of, and they were still pretty tasty. Tasty enough that I feel I need to try this again. Next time, I will follow it more faithfully, and also, I will use lamb. I used beef this time, and it made me realize that although it says you can use either, lamb would definitely fit the recipe better.

I’m convinced that this is a good recipe, even though mine was just ok. I will try to update this when I try it again.

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