I’m not one to shy away from making a spice blend from scratch, as I did recently for the heavenly Moroccan lamb shanks with ras el hanout, so when I came across a ready-to-use blend of spices called shawarma by local producer Sami’s Kitchen I thought I’d give it a burl. Shawarma is something just about everyone is familiar with and if you think you’re not, cast your mind to the last time you tried or walked past one of those twirling spits at a Lebanese takeaway, compacted with meat that is shaved and packed into pita bread with tabbouleh and hummus for your late-night street food snack.
I’ve stepped away from the traditional with this recipe and used the Sami’s Kitchen Shawarma spice blend in lamb mince before shaping it into bite-sized morsels. These are perfect for a bbq or just wedged into a warm pita roll with the cucumber za’atar yoghurt, some shaved red onion and a few salad greens. It’s light and aromatic with the warmth of cumin, nutmeg, cardamom and many more spices.
In a large bowl mix the lamb mince, 2 cloves of grated garlic, lemon rind, shawarma spices, salt and pepper. Shape tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and thread onto moistened skewers.
Combine the oil with the zaatar spice mix. Heat a char-grill of griddle pan, brush the lamb with the oil and za’atar mix and cook on all sides until cooked through.
For the yoghurt, combine it with the lemon juice, 1 clove of grated garlic, cucumber, za’atar and chopped mint leaves.
To serve, simply dip the lamb into the yoghurt mix or serve in pita bread with a few salad greens.