Lamb and Red Lentil Daal with Shawarma Spice and Fava Beans


Lamb and Red Lentil Daal with Shawarma Spice and Fava Beans

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy but not quick
  • Print

Lamb Shwarma red lentil daal, fava beans, dill and garlic tzatziki-2102.jpg

If you have ever had a gyro pita sandwich or plate where the meat came from vertical spit you have had Shawarma, which is the name for both the preparation of the delicious layers of roasted mixed meat and the unique combination of spices used to flavor the meats.

I love a good gyro and one night not long ago I really wanted one but it was cold and I didn’t want to go out.  I remembered I had some Shawarma spice mix so I set about looking in the fridge and pantry for ingredients I could use to make something warm, hearty and full of Shawarma flavor.  There was lamb stew meat and fresh fava beans from Davis Farmer’s Market.  I thought about just using them but when I saw the bright reddish-orange colored lentils I knew what I was going to make.  The dish wouldn’t be quick but it would be well worth it.

This dish has become one of my favorites to make.


  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lbs lamb stew meat
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp Shawarma spice mix
  • 2 cups red lentils (green may be used as well)
  • 2 qts water or stock
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs of fresh fava bean pods
    • Will yield 1-2 cups of beans
  • 3-4 cups water (for blanching the fresh fava beans)
  • 6 cups of ice cold water
  • Optional garnish – plain Greek yogurt or tzatziki which is yogurt with cucumber, dill, and garlic



Lamb with shawarma spice, red lentil daal and fava beans-2088

  • Pat dry the lamb stew meat, season with kosher salt and black pepper; set aside.
  • Peel, dice 1 medium-sized yellow onion; set aside.
  • Peel, mince the garlic cloves; set aside
  • Split the fresh fava bean pod lengthwise, remove the beans, discard the outer pods, wash and drain the beans.
    • Blanching and peeling the fresh fava beans
      • Pour 3-4 cups of water into a medium soup pot, add kosher salt
      • Bring to a boil, add the fava beans, cook for two minutes
      • Transfer the beans using a slotted spoon to the bowl with ice cold water to stop the cooking.
      • When cool, strain
      • Hold a fava bean in one hand, with the index finger and thumb of the other hand pinch a small piece of the outer shell of the fava bean; squeeze the fava bean out of the outer shell and into a bowl.
      • Repeat until all the blanched fava beans have had the outer shell peeled off; set aside.
    • Make sure to wash everything used in preparing raw meat such as kitchen tools, cutting boards, containers, surfaces, and especially your hands in hot soapy water afterward to prevent cross-contamination.
    • Also, I use the added precaution against cross-contamination of using a red cutting board for red meats or a yellow cutting board just for poultry.


  • Season the lamb stew meat with kosher salt and black pepper; set aside.
  • Heat a large soup or stock pot over medium-high heat.  After one to two minutes add the oil, heat for one minute.
  • Add the seasoned lamb stew meat, spread over the bottom of the pot, cook until brown and the meat comes off the bottom of the pot easily, turn over the meat and brown the other side.
  • Add the diced onions, cook until translucent, add the garlic, cook until aromatic.
  • Add the Shawarma spice, cook until aromatic, about one to two minutes.
  • Carefully pour in the water or stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cook for 1 hour.
  • Add the lentils, stir, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes or until lentils are just tender.
  • Add the blanched and peeled fava beans just before serving
    • Note:  Fresh fava beans do not need long cooking time to be edible.  Adding blanched fresh fava beans to the lamb and lentil stew just before serving will warm up the fava beans and finish their cooking.

Lamb Shwarma red lentil daal, fava beans, dill and garlic tzatziki-2102

Served by itself (above) or over rice (below) and garnished with tzatziki (Greek yogurt with cucumber, dill, and garlic.

Lamb and red lentil daal with shawarma spice and fava beans-2200.jpg


Lamb and Red Lentil Daal with Shawarma Spice and Fava Beans


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