Gareth Ward’s Welsh Lamb shawarma

  • Prep time 25 mins
  • Cook time 1 hrs
  • Serves 5+


  • ½ leg of boneless PGI Welsh Lamb, or 8 leg steaks (if using leg steaks, these will have a shorter cooking time – approximately 10 minutes – or cook until the core temperature reaches approx. 68˚C.)

For the marinade:

  • 150g ground cumin
  • 150g ground coriander
  • 150g ground cinnamon
  • 25g ground ginger
  • 25g smoked paprika
  • 25g sea salt
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 25g ground turmeric
  • 50g all-spice powder
  • 150g garlic powder
  • 150g onion powder
  • 150g sumac
  • 50g black cardamom, blitzed
  • 2.5l extra virgin olive oil

For the mint mayonnaise:

  • 300g mayonnaise or thick yoghurt
  • 150g shop-bought mint sauce
  • 100g granulated sugar (if using yoghurt instead of mayonnaise)

For the pickled red cabbage:

  • 1 large red cabbage, cored
  • 300ml white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 50g sea salt
  • 100g granulated sugar

For the tahini dressing:

  • 1 x 300g jar light roast tahini
  • 200ml hot water
  • 75ml lemon juice
  • 1 tsp or 1 large garlic clove, minced/grated
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • Sweeten with mirin or use sugar to your desired sweetness (taste as you add).

For the sumac salt (grind the ingredients together in a pestle and mortar):

  • 300g sumac
  • 15g salt

To serve:

  • 1 crispy lettuce, Iceberg or similar

For the flatbreads (optional):

  • 1kg bread flour
  • 30g salt
  • 580ml bottled water
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 14g yeast
  • Fine semolina flour for dusting work surface (optional)


The quantity of marinade may seem a lot, however, it allows you to fully submerge the lamb. You can also make your own flatbreads to accompany this recipe (see flatbreads recipe below). Prepare the lamb and the marinade the day before you intend to cook the lamb.


To marinate the lamb:


  1. Tenderise the lamb by pricking the meat only, either with a tenderiser or a fork. (This will help the marinade to soak into the meat.)
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix together all the dry ingredients for the marinade. Gradually add the olive oil to the dry ingredients, and mix together until you get the consistency of wet sand. Set aside. Tip: for even more flavour, make the marinade the day before you place the lamb in it.
  3. When the marinade is ready, place the pieces of lamb into the bowl, moving the meat around to ensure that each piece is completely submerged in the marinade. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

To cook the lamb and make the garnishes (the following day):


  1. Preheat the oven to 120˚C / 100˚C fan / Gas ½.
  2. When the lamb has marinated, take the lamb leg out of the marinade, and with your fingers, scrape as much of the marinade off the lamb as you can. (Reserve the marinade to use for other meats – keep frozen until needed.) Place the lamb on an oven tray and secure 4 skewers into it. This makes the lamb easier to handle during cooking.
  3. Over the hot coals of a barbecue, char the lamb all over. If you don’t have a barbecue, use a griddle pan instead, but the flavour is better over hot coals.
  4. When the lamb is charred, place it in the preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes (this is for medium, where the core temperature of the meat should be approx. 68˚C). Alternatively, cook it to your liking, adjusting the timings accordingly.
  5. While the lamb is cooking, make a start on the garnishes.
  6. To make the mint mayonnaise, simply mix the mayonnaise with the mint sauce in a bowl. If using yoghurt instead of mayonnaise, include the sugar when mixing.
  7. Remove the bitter, outer leaves from the lettuce, and shred the crispy centre. Place in a serving dish.
  8. To make the pickled red cabbage, shred the cabbage and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the vinegar with the sugar and allow it to dissolve until clear.  Pour the vinegar and sugar mixture over the cabbage and mix well. Leave for at least 30 minutes before serving. Tip: for a more intense flavour, make it the day before.
  9. Check the lamb: it should be ready when it is firm to the touch and its core temperature is 68˚C (for medium). Set aside to rest for about 10-15 minutes, leaving it in the oven tray.
  10. While the lamb is resting, make the tahini dressing. In a bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, minced/grated garlic, salt and lemon juice. Add the mirin and stir together until you get a thick dressing consistency. Gradually add the water to loosen the mixture until it falls easily off the whisk, resembling a loose mayonnaise or hummus. Adjust the amount of water according to your preferred consistency. Pour into a serving bowl.
  11. After the lamb has rested for 10-15 minutes, push the lamb around the tray so it collects all the residual fat. For added crispiness and to reheat the lamb, char the lamb all over on the barbecue for a couple of seconds.
  12. Pull the skewers out of the lamb and with a sharp knife, carve the lamb into 1cm thick slices. Season each slice on both sides with sumac salt (see ingredients).
  13. Serve the lamb with the garnishes, the crispy shredded lettuce and flatbreads.

To make flatbreads (optional):


Make the dough the day before you intend to cook it. (Makes 6-8 flatbreads)


  1. Warm the water in a bowl or jug and stir in the sugar and yeast.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour and salt, and make a well in the centre. Pour the warm water mixture into the well. Using a fork, mix the flour with the water until a dough comes together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean and floured work surface and, with floured hands, knead the dough for 10 – 15 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with cling film and place it in the fridge to prove overnight.
  4. The following day, take the dough out of the fridge and knock it back (it should have doubled in size overnight).
  5. After you’ve knocked it back, divide it into equal sized balls – 300g per ball.
  6. Bap the balls into rolls using super fine semolina flour. Prove them on a work surface until they’ve doubled in size. A crust should form on the outside.
  7. When you’re ready to use them, flip them over so that the crust is on the bottom. Roll them out to a 2.5mm thickness. Leave them for 15-20 minutes so that they prove a little more.
  8. Cook the flatbreads one at a time in a hot pan for 60 seconds on each side, turning them frequently so they don’t burn.
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