When you are out and about in Palestine, there are really only two options for fast food; falafel or Shawarma. And I will nearly always choose Shawarma. One of my favourite things about a busy day visiting projects and communities is that there is usually only time to pick up a sandwich to eat in the car between visits. Shawarma wraps are a real guilty pleasure of mine- fast food at its delicious best!
Shawarma are long pillars of layered chicken or lamb that are cooked by rotating them in front of an open flame. Once you choose if you want lamb or chicken you then get to choose from a delicious array of salads, dips and fried vegetables what else you wold like to accompany you meat in the warm springy bread.
A few months ago, a local farmer advertised his lambs for sale on a local facebook page and so of course my husband put in an order for a whole lamb and before long the farmer’s wife was knocking on our door to deliver more meat than we had space in the freezer for. So we decided to cook one of the shoulders that day.
My version of make at home shawarma is actually not so much fast food, as it is slow-cooked food. However, the sides are casual and delicious and just like eating on a street corner in Ramallah.
shoulder of lamb
5 onions, cut in half
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
500ml lamb stock
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp sumac
Handful of mint leaves
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 160C
- Mix the garlic, mint, spices, olive oil and pomegranate molasses together
- Arrange the onions on a baking sheet and place the lamb shoulder on top and pierce holes in the lamb
- Rub the garlic and spice mix into the lamb getting it in all the holes, then pour the lamb stock into the tray
- Cover the tray with foil and put in the oven for three hours
- Baste the meat with the juices and then return to the oven uncovered for 40 minutes at 180C
- Remove from oven and slice thinly or shred and arrange on a plate with the juicy cooked onions
- Serve with warm flat breads, green salad and tahini yoghurt. Drink red wine.