Lamb shawarma


Lamb shawarma

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Roasted lamb shoulder drizzled with tahini yoghurt and served in warm Lebanese flat bread. Need we say more?



  • 200g boneless lamb shoulder
  • Olive oil (to create paste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • Whole garlic pod (each clove separated and peeled)


  • 750ml water
  • 150g sugar
  • 60 g salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250ml white vinegar
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 6 star anise
  • 3 cloves garlic, bashed
  • 1 bunch pickled turnips
  • 1 bunch baby beetroots

Soused onions

  • 1 red onion, cut 1 cm thick
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 200ml white wine vinegar

Tahini yoghurt

  • 200g Greek yoghurt (hung overnight)
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper

To garnish

  • ¼ bunch picked parsley
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 4 small Lebanese flat bread and oil to bbq.
  • Sumac, dried Turkish chilli flakes to garnish the yoghurt and breads.


For the lamb:

Bash olive oil, salt, pepper, fennel seed and garlic in a mortar and pestle and rub into lamb.

Leave for four to six hours.

Preheat fan forced over to 250°C.

When oven is hot, place lamb in roasting tray with 200ml water.

Put lamb in oven and reduce temperature to 100ºC and cook for six hours.
(In the time it takes for the oven to reduce from 250ºC to 100ºC, a crust will form on the meat while the inside remains juicy.)

For the pickles:

Fill saucepan with water.

Place sugar, salt, bay leaf, white vinegar, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, juniper berries, star anise and bashed garlic in water.

Bring to the boil. In the meantime, cut up turnips and beetroots.

Once boiled, pour over cut turnips and beets and leave for two days.

For the soused onions:

Mix all ingredients together and place in a zip-lock bag overnight.

When ready, mix together with picked parsley.

For the tahini yoghurt:

Hang Greek yoghurt overnight in muslin cloth.

Mix all ingredients (including hung yoghurt) together.

To serve:

Drizzle Lebanese flat bread with olive oil and char in frypan or over bbq. Fill with lamb, pickles, onions and yoghurt.

Sprinkle with sumac and chilli flakes

Recipe by Matt Dawson of Captain Baxter, St Kilda, Melbourne.

NEXT: Slow cooked lamb shanks with lemony gremolata 

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