Make this Middle Eastern lamb shoulder for your next Sunday roast

Known as Kataf Ghanam, this is great for summer entertaining, says Lauren Taylor

Wednesday 19 July 2023 12:00 BST
Imad Alarnab’s recipe hails from Syria
Imad Alarnab’s recipe hails from Syria (Andy Sewell/PA)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A crowd-pleasing dish to serve up for a family meal or dinner party, Imad Alarnab’s Kataf Ghanam recipe hails from Syria.

Kataf Ghanam (lamb shoulder)

Serves: 4-6


For the marinade:

5 garlic cloves, grated

2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp mild Madras curry powder

½ tbsp ground black pepper

3cm piece of fresh ginger, grated

1 tbsp baharat (a spice mix blend)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp tomato purée

2 tbsp red pepper paste

Good pinch of salt

150ml olive oil

For the lamb:

1.5-2kg lamb shoulder, bone in

10 garlic cloves, peeled

4 sprigs of thyme

4 sprigs of rosemary


1. Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a large container. Rub the marinade all over the lamb so it’s completely covered. Cover and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, ideally overnight.

2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/ gas 3.

3. Take the lamb from the fridge, then get a high-sided oven tray and line with a layer of foil and a layer of baking paper, large enough to cover the lamb. Add the garlic and herb sprigs to the middle, followed by the lamb and all the marinade (you can also add onions, carrots or potatoes at this stage, if you like). Fold the foil and baking paper over the lamb like a parcel, then flip it over and wrap it again in another layer of foil so the lamb is tightly wrapped and there are no gaps. We want to cook the lamb in its own juices, so it’s really important that it’s completely covered at this stage.

4. Place in the oven and cook for 4 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Remove from the oven, unwrap, increase the temperature to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and roast until browned on top.

Serve with kabsa rice or plain bulgur.

‘Imad’s Syrian Kitchen’ by Imad Alarnab (HQ, £26)

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