Lamb shawarma with couscous and raita
This slow roast lamb shawarma makes a simple and relaxed Sunday lunch. The lamb joint is large enough to serve eight, so double the couscous and raita recipe if you're looking for an easy way to feed a crowd.
Each serving provides 994 kcal, 88g protein, 74g carbohydrate (of which 14g sugars), 35g fat (of which 12g saturates), 15g fibre and 1.7g salt.
For the spice mix (this makes more than you need for this recipe – see Recipe Tips)
- 4 tbsp ground cumin
- 4 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp medium chilli powder (or mild or hot, if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tsp garlic powder
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
For the lamb (this makes more than you need for this recipe – see Recipe Tips)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 unwaxed lemons, finely grated zest and juice
- 4 tbsp spice mix (from above)
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1.5–1.6kg/3lb 5–8oz lamb shoulder (bone-in)
- 4 wholemeal pitta breads, to serve
For the couscous
- 320g/11oz wholewheat couscous
- 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest and juice only
- 400ml/14fl oz boiling water
- 2 yellow peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 320g/11oz frozen sweetcorn, defrosted
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander (optional)
For the raita
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3.
To make the spice mix, tip all the spices into a clean, medium-sized airtight container, cover with the lid and shake. Set aside.
To make the lamb, put the olive oil and lemon zest and juice in a bowl, add 4 tablespoons of the spice mix and mix well.
Put the onion quarters in a medium, deep-sided roasting tray and place the lamb on top (you want it to fit snugly so don’t use a roasting tray that is too big). Make several incisions in the lamb. Spread the spice mixture all over the lamb, rubbing it into the incisions well. Pour 300ml cold water into the bottom of the tray, then cover the whole thing with kitchen foil. Roast for 3¼ hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Tip the couscous into a large, heatproof bowl, add the lemon zest and juice, then pour in the boiling water and stir well. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the couscous to absorb the liquid. Drag a fork through the couscous to separate the grains.
Stir the yellow peppers and sweetcorn into the couscous and mix well, then stir in the chilli and coriander (if using). Stir once more, then cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
For the raita, coarsely grate the cucumber onto a clean tea towel, then gather the tea towel up and hold it over the sink. Twist it until all the liquid comes out of the cucumber. Tip the squeezed cucumber into a separate bowl, then add the yoghurt. Finely grate the garlic over the top and season with the ground coriander, a little salt and some black pepper. Stir well, then cover and place in the fridge until needed.
Remove the foil from the lamb and baste with any juices at the bottom of the tray. Return to the oven for 15 minutes, until just browned around the edges.
To serve, lay the pitta breads on a baking tray and cover with foil. Heat through in the oven for 5 minutes while carving the lamb. Remove the lamb from the tray and pull the meat from the bone, shredding the lamb into small pieces. Mix the shredded lamb back into the cooking juices and onion, stirring until combined.
Divide the couscous between serving plates, top with shredded lamb and cooking juices, then serve a warmed pitta bread and a dollop of the raita alongside each portion. Serve immediately. Tip the remaining lamb (four portions) into an airtight container and leave to cool, then transfer to the fridge. The leftovers can be eaten cold or reheated in a microwave oven (see Tips).
The spice mix makes enough for four lamb shoulders. Any leftover mix will keep in an airtight lidded jar for up to one month. Use it for lamb or chicken.
The lamb joint serves eight. Use half the cooked meat in this recipe and save half for later. It can be kept in the fridge for two to four days, or frozen for up to two months. To reheat the cold cooked lamb in a microwave, place one portion in a suitable heatproof bowl, cover with a piece of kitchen paper and heat on high for 2 minutes until hot through. If not piping hot, heat on high for a further 30 seconds at a time until hot through, then serve.