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Braised lamb shawarma with homemade Turkish flatbread

Source: Fine Cooking #122 (also at

I wanted to do something a bit different for Keith’s birthday meal. I stumbled upon his recipe that I did once before and remember it being delicious.

Shawarma meat is typically cooked on a spit, but this Fine Cooking recipe adapts this preparation to home cooking by slow braising lamb. (Of course you would choose lamb over chicken or beef, especially for a birthday meal.)

The meal takes a few hours to prepare, but it’s easy cooking. And while the meat braises, you have time to prepare side dishes.

Shawarma can be served on its own, or rolled up as a wrap with a flatbread. If you’re going that route, make your own Turkish yufka flatbread. The dough is just flour, salt, oil and water. It need a few hours to rest, but like the shawarma, is very easy to make and cook in a cast iron pan.

The recipe calls for pomegranate molasses to flavour both the meat and the pickled cabbage. This can be readily found in Middle Eastern markets, or you can make your own by boiling down pomegranate juice with a bit of sugar lemon juice (2 cups juice to 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp lemon).

I served the shawarma wraps with tabbouleh, baba ghanouj and a chickpea salad.

Assembling the lamb shawarma
Assembling the lamb shawarma

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