Halal Cart Lamb

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 35 min (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
You can find halal carts all over New York City. Originally run by Egyptian immigrants (but now by many others as well), halal carts offer a delicious combination of rice, halal meat (which has been slaughtered in accordance with Islamic laws) and salad in a bowl, topped with a delicious white sauce and some hot sauce if requested. While many go for the chicken, I almost always order the lamb. Small pieces of boneless lamb shoulder are marinated in a combination of garlic, cilantro, spices and lemon for tenderness and great flavor. If you are making it at home, I strongly suggest marinating the lamb for 8 hours for maximum impact, but a shorter time will also impart plenty of flavor. Cooking the meat in a cast-iron skillet gives every piece nice caramelization.



  1. Put the cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander, sumac, allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and garlic in a large bowl and stir well. Add the lamb and give it a good stir to make sure all the pieces are coated with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add half of the lamb and spread it into one layer, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is fully cooked, brown and caramelized on all sides, about 15 minutes. Toss the lamb with 1/2 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining lamb. Serve with yellow rice, white sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and pita.  

Cook’s Note

Lamb shoulder will take about 15 minutes to cook completely and will release some of its juices when cooking. Keep cooking over medium heat until the liquid has cooked off and the lamb is fully cooked.