Arabic lamb shawarma

Nadia Sawalha wraps with spiced lamb, tahini sauce and herby bulgur will ruin you for the local kebab shop!
Arabic lamb shawarma
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes plus marinating overnight
  • Effort: medium


For the lamb kebabs

  • 450 g leg of lamb, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced and half the zest
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • pinches nutmeg, grated
  • pinches ground mastic, with a pinch of granulated sugar

For the parsley tahini dip

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300 ml tahini
  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 1 very large handfuls parsley, finely chopped

For the tabbouleh

  • 200 g bulgur wheat
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and de-seeded
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and very finely chopped, salted and left to drain for 30 minutes
  • 3 tbsp very finely chopped mint
  • 200 g very finely chopped parsley
  • 4 tbsp lemons, juice only
  • 5-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Romaine or Cos lettuce

To serve

  • flatbreads
  • red onions, thinly sliced


1. For the lamb kebabs: slice the lamb thinly. Mix in a bowl with all the other ingredients and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.

2. The next day, cook the shreds of lamb on a hot griddle pan or barbecue.

3. For the parsley tahini dip: using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and salt to a paste. Mix in the tahini then whisk in the lemon juice - it will start to become sticky. Start dribbling in a little warm water, still whisking until you get the consistency of thick double cream.

4. Stir in the parsley.

5. For the tabbouleh: soak the bulgur wheat for 30 minutes in salted hot water. Line a colander with a clean towel and put in the sink. Drain the soaked bulgur through the colander and twist in the towel to squeeze out every last bit of water.

6. Tip into a mixing bowl and stir in all the other ingredients tasting and adjusting all the way.

7. Make shawarma wraps by loading flatbread with a mixture of the grilled lamb, tabbouleh and tahini dip. Scatter with red onion and roll up to serve.

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