Omani Shuwa

Ingredients

1 leg of lamb
10 cloves garlic, crushed
Ground pepper
Ground cumin
Ground coriander seeds
Turmeric powder
Ground cloves
Dry red chili powdered
cooking oil
45 ml vinegar
1 pc of lemon

Note: Adjust the spice level according to your needs.

For cooking rice:
390 gm Basmati Rice
Water
2.10 gm cumin seeds
2.10 gm corns
3-4 cardamom pods
3-4 cloves
3 pinch cinnamon
2 pieces star anise
3-4 pieces bay leaves
Salt to taste
Yellow food color
Orange food color

METHOD

Combine all dry ingredients and rub the spices on the lamb leg.

Wrap the meat using dry banana leaves or palm leaves.

Marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Place the marinated meat wrapped up in the banana leaf in a roasting pan and cover.

Roast in a 250 F pre-heated oven for 3 to 4 hours or until leg is well cooked, basting from pan juices every 30 minutes and turning over once or twice.

Uncover and roast at 350 F for 20 minutes, turning over once.

PRO TIP: If the banana leaf dries off, you could wrap it with aluminum foil.

Rice preparations

Heat a heavy bottom pan.

Add oil.

Add in the whole spices one by one.

Sauté for nearly 30 seconds.

Add in the water, add soaked rice once the water starts to boil.

Allow the rice to cool.

Mix one part of the rice with yellow food coloring and the other part with orange food coloring.

The main dish in Omani’s culinary heritage, the Omani shuwa is the symbol of the country’s togetherness. A favourite dish in Oman often prepared for special occasions, especially during the celebration of Eid where families gather to share this traditional dish.
Shuwa means grilled meat in Arabic. The process of cooking the Shuwa dish takes a long time. In fact, Omanis usually prepare the meat on the first day of Eid, and eat it on the second or the third day. The Shuwa is marinated in Omani spices, then wrapped in banana leaves or palm leaves and put in an underground sand oven, where it gets cooked over one to two days. This may seem a strange method but Shuwa meat is one of the tastiest dishes around.

It was seen unconventional when she chose to pursue a career as a chef, let alone to work in a hotel. For Chef Rabah, it was defying all the norms of what a woman should do and not do. Her training began at home when she would help her mother and grandmother prepare the food for the family. She likes to try her hands on everything and anything for all she wanted was to be able to create something that her family will like. Her passion led her to pursue a career in culinary – the first in her family. She started as a chef at the cold and hot kitchen then moved in the Italian kitchen where she got to try her skills in preparing more complex dishes. She then moved to hotel’s main kitchen for the all-day dining restaurant. Here, she was able to finally showcase her skills – preparing Arabic and Omani dishes that she had learned from her family. She is in charged in ensuring that Omani dishes served are true to their taste.
For Chef Rabah, seeing the smiles and satisfaction in her guests make the preparation and long hours of work all worth it. After 14 years in the kitchen, Chef Rabah is unstoppable. She plans on to continue to be at the kitchen and sharing her passion and talent to the new chefs – instilling to them the work ethics for one to be successful.