I’ve had pretty limited exposure to middle eastern food; however, the fave, so far, continues to be lamb shawarma. Lamb shawarma is a fast-food staple of the middle east and is traditionally served shaved off of a large spinning spit of meat. I fell in love with this rich dish at one of my favorite Milwaukee restaurants, Casablanca. Surrounded by belly-dancers, the air thick with a fog of hookah smoke, this blessed dish was served to me atop fragrantly spiced basmati rice alongside a beautiful cucumber tomato salad. It was love.
I set out to make a copycat version of this dish. Nothing can quite compare to the glory of their dish, but until I can sneak into their kitchen…maybe disguised as a belly dancer?… this will have to do. Though it can’t even compare to the Casablanca glory, this dish will bring you to a whole new place. It’s warm spices blend perfectly with the rich flavor of the lamb and the salad pulls everything together with its bright flavors. Yum.
2 lbs lamb fillet, thinly sliced (keep some of the fat on)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp mace
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1. Cut the lamb fillet into thin strips (about 1/2 inch)
2. Mix together all of the spices, juice and yogurt.
3. Toss the lamb strips in the mixture, cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. When the lamb is ready, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook until the lamb strips have browned and are slightly pink on the inside.
5. Serve over spiced basmati rice with a side of salad-e shirazi. Top with tahini sauce.
Whisk together 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tahini, pinch of salt and tbsp cold water.
Spiced Basmati Rice
1 1/4 cups basmati rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups water
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil and stir.
3. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and let rice stand 5 minutes.
Salad-e Shirazi: Tomato Cucumber Salad
5 roma tomatoes
1/2 red onion
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
small handful of chopped fresh mint
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste