For special occasions, the countries of the Arab world unveil generous and succulent dishes on their tables. Today, it is the lamb shuwa that catches our attention. An Omani specialty that combines earthy and spicy flavors with meat. Here are the secrets of its preparation, including cooking methods and key ingredients!
Shuwa, a traditional dish cooked under the embers
Enjoyed at the time of Eid and other festivities, shuwa is a very famous traditional dish in Oman and the Gulf region. The centerpiece is the leg or shoulder of lamb, marinated in a spice mixture of cinnamon, coriander, cumin, chili, nutmeg and cloves. But the particularity of this dish comes from its cooking. Traditionally, the marinated meat is wrapped in banana leaves. The whole thing is then slid under a palm leaf into a shuwa pit. This is a hole in the ground where embers are placed. The meat is cooked in this way, on hot coals for 24 hours. A slow cooking which allows the meat to be very tender and to detach itself from the bone with a stroke of the fork. Divine! Don’t worry, it is possible to cook your shuwa in a conventional oven and get (almost) the same result.
Tips for a successful shuwa
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So what are the secrets to obtain a tender and tasty lamb shuwa? First of all, the meat should be soaked in its marinade for at least 12 hours. Prepare it with the spices mentioned above, and add white vinegar, lime juice, olive oil and a few crushed garlic cloves. Take care to make a few cuts in the meat, so that the marinade can penetrate it. And let it rest in aluminum foil.
Then comes the cooking, slow and at low temperature. Set your oven to 140 °, and let the meat cook for 5 hours. You can enjoy your lamb shuwa with saffron rice, enhanced with parsley and pomegranate seeds. A delicious dish!