This Easter I decided to make a lamb shawarma using a recipe I found in Yotam Ottolenghi’s book, Jerusalem.

There are a couple of things which need to be prepped before bringing it all together:

  • The rub to marinade the lamb
  • The pitta bread
  • The spread to line the inside of the pitta bread
  • The chopped salad

The lamb and the rub

You will need the following ingredients:


  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 nutmeg, grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 Tbsp sumac
  • 3/4 Tbsp Maldon sea salt
  • 25g fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 40g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 60ml fresh lemon juice
  • 120ml groundnut oil
  • 1 leg of lamb
The spices for the rub

Add the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, fenugreek, fennel, cumin, star anise and cinnamon in a pan and slightly roast all the spices together. Take care not to burn the spices. Add the nutmeg, ginger and paprika and mix it all together. Transfer all the spices to a grinder and grind all of the spices into a fine powder.

The spices slightly fried in a pan

The first part of this mix is also known as the Lebanese spice mix.

Transfer the spices to a bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients (except for the lamb)

The rub mixture

Debone a leg of lamb and rub the meat generously with the above mix. Leave overnight if possible. The original recipe leaves the bone in and roast the meat in the oven, but I had to remove the bone to fit the meat into a rotisserie.

Cook the lamb for 4.5 to 5 hours depending on the heat, wrap in foil for about 30 minutes to rest.

The lamb on the rotisserie

Then, using a sharp knife, cut the meat into thin slivers of about 1.5cm.

The deboned leg of lamb cut into thin slices.

The pitta bread

The recipe for the pita bread is also one of Ottolenghi’s, which can be found here.


  • 240ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp castor sugar
  • 300ml white bread flour
  • 50ml whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Mix the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes.

Mix the flour, salt and olive oil in a bowl, then add the water mixture. Mix all well and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Leave in the bowl for about 2 hours. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll it into balls. Let it stand for about 20 minutes.

The dough balls

Roll the balls out with a pin into +/-12cm diameter discs.

The pitta breads, raw and baked

Preheat the oven at maximum temperature with a large tray to heat up. Bake for about 5 minutes until the bread is golden brown.

The spread

This spread will be used to brush the inside of the pitta bread.


  • 120g chopped, tinned tomatoes
  • 20g harissa paste
  • 20g tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all together.

The spread

The chopped salad

To create the salad, just mix the following ingredients:


  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped parsley
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Chopped tomato
  • Sprinkle of sumac

Bringing it all together

When the lamb is cooked, sliced into thin strips and still warm, heat up the pittas in a ridged griddle pan until they have nice char marks. Cut the pittas open, brush them on the inside with the spread and fill them with the lamb. Add the chopped salad on top.

We served this with a nice bottle of Allesverloren Shiraz

The final product

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