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How to make Omani shuwa | Dine & Discover

Join us in a new video series as we learn about some of the region's famed dishes
Lamb shuwa is usually made on Eid around the Gulf (MEE)

Dine & Discover is a 9-week series with a new episode published weekly on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook so be sure to subscribe. 

Hello! I'm Dina Macki, welcome to the first instalment of Dine & Discover. 

In the coming weeks I'll be taking you through a series of recipes famed across the MENA region that you can easily re-create in your own homes. 

This week's recipe will take us to the Gulf, the home of fragrant spices shaped by centuries of trade. 

You have not experienced Oman until an Omani has made you shuwa, an incredible Eid delicacy famed around the region.

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Its centrepiece is a slow-roasted lamb, sheep, goat - or even camel. Traditionally it's buried in the ground on a bed of hot coals and left to cook for hours - but don't worry, you won't have to get your shovel out today. Instead I've come up with a simple way for you to re-create this dish using your own oven. 

What makes this dish is the baharat spice in which the meat is bathed for up to 48 hours. The blend usually pays homage to the host family's heritage, be it India, Zanzibar or Bahrain, and often includes such staples as cumin, coriander, chilli, cloves and nutmeg.

It's best served with saffron or spiced rice and a yoghurt-based salad. The leftovers can be kept till the next day, fried and tucked inside a warm pitta for a mini shawarma

Watch the video above to see how it's done - there's also a recipe below with the details to make sure you don't miss anything out.

I hope you enjoy it and don't forget to share your creations with me by tagging @meediscover. 

See you next week! 


Serves: 8

Preparation and cooking time: Marination: 12-24 hours, cooking: 4-5 hours

Slow cooked lamb

1. Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb or 1 shoulder of sheep
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp of garlic paste or 10 cloves (mashed)
  • 50 ml of vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 or 2 banana leaves to wrap your meat in
Baharat spice mix*
  • 1 tbsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5-8 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 whole dried limes
*Alternatively, if you can obtain it: 60g of pre-made, shop-bought baharat mix

Saffron Rice:

  • Pinch of high quality saffron strands
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt

2. Method

Marinating the meat

  1. Place all the spices into a blender and blitz until you have a fine powder.
  2. Combine the baharat mix with the mashed garlic, vinegar and oil. Mix them together well until you have formed a thick paste.
  3. Using a knife, cut small slits all over the meat to allow the marinade to absorb. Pour the marinade over and massage with your hands into all the creases, folds and cuts of the meat. Don’t worry if you have excess marinade left over. Just pour it all over.
  4. Place the meat onto the banana leaf and wrap as tightly as possible, if you don’t have a banana leaf, foil will work just fine. You want to make sure the meat is sealed well like a parcel so all the steam and juices remain inside. 
  5. Now, place your meat inside a roasting tray and if you can leave it to marinate in the fridge for 24-48hrs - just remember to bring it to room temperature before roasting.
  6. Heat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas mark 2
  7. Once you are ready to cook your meat, place in the oven and wait, patiently for five hours. 
Wrap meat in banana leaves

Saffron rice:

  1. Wash the rice and set aside.
  2. Take the saffron strands and grind together with some sugar in a pestle and mortar. Add some water and mix well until all combined, set aside. 
  3. Pour the rice into your cooking pot and add 4 cups of water. Add a small amount of oil and a generous pinch of salt. Once the water begins to lightly boil add in your saffron mixture.
  4. Cook the rice for roughly 10 mins, or until the rice grains are nice and soft.
  5. Once the rice is done, plate it up and add your slow-cooked lamb on top. 
  6. Finally finish off with a garnish of fresh pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander.
Lamb Shuwa

Follow the Dine & Discover series on Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow Dina on her Instagram page @dinewithdina.

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