Hummus Kawarma

So much for 60 fucking degrees. This DC June heatwave has been killing me. Fortunately I am about to go on vacation to Norway where the highs will be in the mid 60s and I can cool off and eat an insane amount of fish, potatoes, and brown cheese. Expect some Scandinavian inspired recipes when I return. 

In the meantime, here is Ottolenghi and Tamimi's hummus kawarma aka hummus with lamb. This dish is not only one of my favorite things to eat, it's also one of my favorite things to make. The recipe flows so well. You put the chickpeas on to cook, then prepare the marinade for the meat, as the meat marinades, you make the hummus, once the hummus is done, you put the meat on to cook, as the meat cooks, you prepare the lemon sauce, and then you put the plate together. It sounds like a lot, but each step is short and simple. You're busy in the kitchen but never rushed or forced to multi-task. 

Jerusalem is one of my favorite cookbooks. I have cooked my way through almost every recipe and aside from some burnt couscous and a bit of bitter eggplant (my own errors), everything I've made has blown me away. Tahini and pomegranate molasses are now stables in my kitchen and many of the recipes are on my regular rota. 

As you may know, I'm fussy about my hummus. I've been making it for years now and I've picked up certain tips along the way; cook the chickpeas with baking soda (it speeds up the process and helps remove the starch), remove the loose skins from the chickpeas (it makes the hummus smoother), use the water you cook the chickpeas in to make the hummus (it adds more flavor). But the specific recipe itself is something you just have to feel out. Everyone has certain preference (less garlic, more lemon etc.), once you start making it you'll learn how much of everything you like. It's also helpful to think of hummus a bit like gazpacho, the flavors combine and mellow overnight, so don't worry too much... I've made plenty of batches I thought we're too much 'something' but tasted great after 24 hours in the fridge!  

Stuff for Hummus

1 cup dried chickpeas

pinch baking soda

1/2 cup tanhini

juice from 2 lemons

2 big garlic cloves 

pinch cumin

1/4 olive oil

salt & pepper


Steps for Hummus

Soak the chickpeas over night (they drink a lot, so make sure they have plenty of water). Put chickpeas on to boil and add a pinch of salt and baking soda. Boil for about 40 mins or until they're done and their skins begin to loosen.

Drain chickpeas but keep the cooking water. Put chickpeas in the food processor with the garlic and blitz for about 30 seconds - 1 minute. Add tahini, most of the lemon juice, cumin, most of the olive oil, salt & pepper. Blitz again and slowly pour in a little of the chickpea water until the mixture turns smooth.

Taste and add in extra lemon, olive oil, salt, or whatever else it needs. Blitz again. Repeat this process until desired taste and consistency are reached. Once done, store hummus in a airtight container in the fridge. 


Ottolenghi specifies neck meat for the kawarma, but I find that to fatty and removing the neck bones is a hassle. For this recipe I used a leg steak from Whiffletree Farm and it was delicious. The full recipe as it appears in the book can be found here. I usually don't measure the spices, I often use extra herbs, I swap dried oregano for fresh, and I skip the white pepper.  

Stuff for the Kawarma

Lamb leg steak

good pinch of black pepper

good pinch of allspice

good pinch of cinnamon

good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

small handful of oregano

small handful of parsley

small handful of mint

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil 

handful of pine nuts

Steps for the Kawarma

Chop the lamb into bite size chunks and place in bowl to marinate. Chop the herbs and add them to the bowl with the spices and the vinegar. Mix everything together and let it marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

Once marinated, heat butter and olive oil in pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb and cook for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. 

Toast the pine nuts in a small pan over a medium heat until they begin to turn golden brown.  

To plate, spread hummus in a bowl and top with the lamb, pine nuts, lemon sauce (see below), and lightly season with salt & pepper. 

Steps for Lemon Sauce

Finely chop the parsley, chili, and garlic. Mix in a small bowl or container with the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and salt. 

Stuff for Lemon Sauce 

good handful of parsley

1/2 green chili

juice from 1 lemon 

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves

pinch of salt