An Arabic Meal to remember


I didnt know anything about arabic food till I met our friends, Aby and Jessy who had grown up in the Middle East. They would get all nostalgic about the food they missed and how nonauthentic the Arab foods in America were.They are as passionate about food as we are, if only more. We have whipped up some pretty amazing meals together. Recently, we got together on a weekend and decided to give Arabic food a try and they came to our house fully loaded.. …Arabic groceries and an Arabic cookbook. All the recipes we followed are from the book. The groceries were purchased from a store in Brooklyn.

The meat has to be marinated overnight and so there is some prep work involved. Our friends were the chefs and me and Satish basically acted as sous-chefs . I was introduced to a new world of cookingmethods, ingredients and recipes.
The menu which was very simple included

Leham shawarma (marinated spiced lamb) recipe follows

Kafta kebabs (lamb kebabs) as shown below

kabob cooked.jpg

Tabouleh or parsley salad

Ful Madamas or Fava bean dish as shown below


Recipe for lamb shawarma

2 1/2 lbs lamb (should have a good amount of fat)
1 orange sliced into thin rounds
1 lemon sliced into thin rounds
1 tbsp yogurt
2 tsps white vinegar
1 tsp ground allspice (preferably middle eastern/indian allspice)
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper (less if you like it less spicy)
2 tsps of corn oil
To assemble
Thinly sliced onion
Tabouleh (Parsley)
Pickled turnips (made in a mix of salt vinegar and beet juice)
Tahini spread (recipe follows)
Pita bread
Cut the filet into 1/4 inch thick slices and then the slices into 1/2 inch 
wide pieces.
Combine the orange slices, lemon slices, yogurt, vinegar, allspice,nutmeg, 
cardamom,salt and pepper in a baking dish and stiretogether. Crush the 
lemon and orange with a fork to release juices. Add the lamb, cover 
the dish and marinate overnight, turning over once (if you can do it).

Before cooking,remove the slices from the marinade and squeeze out excess
liquid,and pound the meat with hands. Place slices in a roasting pan and 
drizzle with corn oil
Place the oven on broil (high) and place the rack close to the broiling 
element (electric) or flames (gas).
Some ovens top shelf might be really close to the heating source so 
please make sure that when you place the lamb slices in a roasting pan,
the pan should  have some room on the top. Or sometimes flare ups might
be too common.
The heat should be close enough that a good amount of searing should
occur but not too close that there is too much flare. I kept it on
the second rack just  below the broil source.. 
Turn the slices twice during the time. About 20 mins approx should be 
good.  The meat should have a good amount of sear on it but at the 
same time there should be some unseared portions as well.

On a pita bread, split it halfway (or open the pocket ) and spread the 
tahini. Put in the lamb,then the tabouleh, onions and the pickled
turnips as shown below.

Recipe for Tahini spread (Garlic Sauce Spread)
3 small cloves garlic, mashed
1 cup sesame paste (tahini)
3/4 cup lemon juice
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt, to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish

Whisk the garlic and sesame paste together in a small bowl,
Add lemon juice , whisking until the mix turns into a firm
white paste. Gradually add upto 2/3 cup cold water, whisking until
the sauce has a smooth consistency. Season with pepper flakes
and salt. Garnish with parsley
Recipe source The Arab Table by May Bsisu
Recipe painstakingly rewritten  by Aby and Jessy

10 responses »

  1. MY MY.. thats quite a spread there.
    I have never cooked anything arabic so far. When time comes I know where to look for an authentic recipe now.

  2. I’m very fortunate to be able to eat lamb shwarma weekly so I do not have to cook it myself. The recipe looks kind of authentic and the food looks totally delicious.

  3. Hi Meenal I did visit your site and you are quite the cook! An impressive array of dishes there.

    Hi MM…lucky you. The recipe was from the \”Arab Table\” which had gotten good reviews. The food was totally delicious except for the Ful Madamas, which wasnt a very favorite of mine.

  4. Anyone know how to make the sauces for lamb shoarma? In Amsterdam it comes with 3 sauces. One thats hot, one thats onionee(both red in color)and the white garlic sauce. Anyone?

  5. hi gini ann ,
    The dish is superb .I have tasted it before during my stay in the middle east.
    this is something i always wanted
    Somehow the recipe does’nt seem to be clear .Could you please make the recipe more precise (is there any missing lines in between ) .

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