This is a really late response to a comment on the entry on the Arabian cooking class – someone requested the recipe for Shawarma/Shwarma/however you want to spell it, so here it is!


2 kilos of beef or chicken, sliced very thin
2 tbsp baharat spice (see below)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp Jamaican pepper
100 ml red wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
500 ml red wine
1 piece of fat (any kind of fat, butter, oil – to be rubbed on the bowl)

10 pitas
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 onions, julienned
taratur sauce (see below)
finely-chopped parsley

Cut the meat into filets and then into strips. Place in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste (they have a verb meaning to salt & pepper in Spanish! I love it!) and then add the spices. Mix well and add the vinegar, the lemon juice, and the red wine. Let sit in the fridge for 24 hours to marinate.

When ready, remove the meat from the juice, squeezing each piece to make sure that no juice remains on it. Heat the fat/oil/butter in a frying pan or wok on high heat and add the meat to saute. Cook the meat for a short while, and as juice starts to collect from the mat, remove the meat and drain the juice. Return the meat to the heat and cook until it is finished.

Make an opening in each pita. Add finely-cut pieces of tomato, julienned onion, a bit of meat, and 1 tbsp of taratur sauce. Sprinkle the parsley on top. Push all the ingredients together with a spoon, squeezing it all together so you can close it. Roll up the bottom half in cooking paper (it’ll drip!) and serve.

Baharat Spices

Baharat means ‘spice’ in Arabic, so this is just a combination of spices used to flavour all meat. This is a basic recipe, every chef has their own mix, as does each vendor in each souk (market). Find what suits you – as you can seen on this page about baharat, there are many different blends. I’m including the one the chef gave, though he calls for grinding your own cloves – I’ll just put amounts in pre-ground spices.

1 tbsp ground white pepper
1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground coriander
1.5 tbsp ground cloves
1.5 tbsp nutmeg
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tbsp Jamaican pepper

Mix spices well. Store in a closed container.

Taratur sauce

1 cup of tahini
1 squeeze of lemon juice

Place tahini, lemon juice, and salt to taste in a blender or food processor. Turn the blender on and keep it running while adding water until you have a thick sauce with the consistency of mayo or mustard. You can also dilute it with a little drinkable or natural yogurt to soften the flavor.

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