Beef Shawerma

Shawarma recipe

That Shawarma aroma is unmistakable. It's a popular street food in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. Every vendor has their own version. The marinated meat is the actual shawerma. It can be chicken, beef or lamb. It's then encased in bread with fresh salad, tahini and optional pickles. Some use flat bread and some use long rolls. I prefer soft long rolls because the juices of the shawerma get soaked up pillowy insides of the bread. 

Marinating the beef in the spices and the acid helps keep it moist and tender. Don't skip this step if you want juicy tender beef.

Here's how to recreate this magical street food at home. 
Serves 4. 


For the Shawerma
300g rump steak cut into thin strips
2 small red onions cut into thin half moons
1 red capsicum cut into strips
3 garlic cloves crushed
100ml white vinegar
Juice of half of lemon
1 teaspoon Arabic 7 spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

For the Tahini sauce
1/2 cup tahini
1 tablespoon greek yogurt
1 small garlic clove crushed
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 lemon
A few tablespoons of cold water (or as needed)
Salt & pepper to taste

For the fresh vegetables
Cos lettuce
Fresh mint leaves
Optional pickles


Marinate the beef strips with the garlic, half the onion, vinegar, lemon and all the spices. Allow to marinate for a minimum of two hours. This will help tenderise the beef and it will soak up the moisture.

In the meantime get the tahini sauce ready. Place the tahini in a bowl and add the garlic, yogurt, paprika, salt and pepper. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and mix vigorously. It will clump up so keep the cold water on hand and add a tablespoon at a time until it loosens. Your sauce should be the consistency of pouring custard.

In a smoking hot pan, brown the beef in batches. Set aside to rest.

Once you're done with all the beef flash fry the other half of the onions and the capsicum strips. Add to the resting beef.

Warm the long rolls by placing them open side down in the hot pan for the bread to soak up the juices left behind.

To assemble the rolls, add a good lashing of tahini sauce. Then add some fresh lettuce and mint leaves. Then in with the beef, onion and capsicum mixture. If you're a big fan of tahini sauce (like me), drizzle some more on top.