Margarita's International Recipes



Egyptian marinated meat

I spent my senior year in college studying at the American University in Cairo. The University had two lovely cafeterias, but every day I'd sneak out for two or three fresh shawarma sandwiches from a nearby "restaurant". It was a cheap lunch and completely satisfying.

In Egypt, shawarma refers to chunks of marinated meat (beef, lamb or chicken), cooked on a spit with fat melting on top. They are usually served in small dinner buns and condimented with tahini sauce. They are delicious.

I do have a rotisserie, but cooking the shawarma on it would not have been practical. For one, this is a dish that normally takes all day to cook. For two, it would have made a mess. So I did the next best thing and I pan fried the beef. The results were just OK. My guess is that I'll have to go back to Egypt to have a real shawarma.




  • 2 lbs beef sirloin
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • oil for frying


Slice the beef into bite-size slices. Put in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and let marinade for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon transfer the beef from the marinade to the pan. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, or until cooked through. You may need to do this in batches.

Serve in a dinner bun or pita bread spread with tahini sauce or cucumber yogurt sauce.

Adapted from a recipe at Egypt Daily News.

Egyptian Recipes | Margarita's International Recipes | E-mail