Muscat, Oman

Dive into Oman’s capital with this month's TASTEscape destination guide produced in partnership with Great British Chefs, where local Heather Duncan gives us the inside scoop on the must-visit spots in the city. And if you can't wait to get there, we have a recipe to give you a taste of Oman.

Recipe: Shuwa with Fragrant Rice

Get a taste of Oman with this juicy, flavourful lamb dish marinated in spices, olive oil and garlic. Traditionally buried in a pit to cook in hot coals for up to two days, this version from Great British Chefs can be cooked in the oven, with the joint wrapped in banana leaves for authenticity. Serve with red or rose wine. Recipe by Greg Malouf.


Course: Main 
Difficulty: Medium 
Time: 2hrs 30mins plus overnight marinading


Roast lamb shuwa

  • 1 leg of lamb, bone in 
  • 1/2 garlic bulb, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/2 nutmeg, grated 
  • 1/2 tbsp of ground cumin 
  • 1/2 tbsp of ground coriander 
  • 1/2 tbsp of sweet smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 tbsp of freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 tbsp of turmeric 
  • 1 pinch of hot smoked paprika 
  • juice of half a lemon 
  • 50ml of olive oil 
  • 2 banana leaves, or more as needed to wrap the lamb 

Fragrant rice

  • 20 saffron threads 
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced 
  • 50g of fine wheat vermicelli 
  • 400g of basmati rice, rinsed and drained 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp allspice 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger 
  • 600ml of chicken stock 
  • juice of half a lemon 
  • 30ml of olive oil


  1. In a large pestle and mortar, crush the garlic cloves with the sea salt to create a smooth paste 
  2. Add in all the dry spices, followed by the lemon juice and olive oil. Blend into the garlic paste until evenly combined
  3. Rub the spice paste all over the lamb, working it in thoroughly to completely and evenly cover the meat. Cover the lamb and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge 
  4. Before cooking, preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1 and remove the lamb from the fridge to bring it back up to room temperature 
  5. Wrap the leg in the banana leaves, making sure it is fully enclosed. Place in a deep baking tray with any seams from the wrapping facing down to help the leaves stay in place during cooking 
  6. Cover the tray with tin foil, then bake in the oven for 1–2 hours – check the meat after an hour, as the exact cooking time will depend on the weight and thickness of the joint. The lamb should be tender and still slightly pink in the centre when done 
  7. Allow the lamb to rest, still covered, for about 30 minutes while cooking the rice 
  8. Place the saffron threads in a small bowl or cup and cover with 60ml warm water. Leave to soak until adding to the rice 
  9. Pour the olive oil into a large heavy-bottomed pan and place over a low heat. Gently sauté the onion for a few minutes until softened and translucent 
  10. Roughly break up the vermicelli and stir into the oil, allowing the pieces to colour and brown in the oil 
  11. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil, then mix in the soaked saffron threads and dry spices. Cover everything with the stock and bring up to the boil 
  12. Cover the pan with a lid. Keeping the heat low, allow to cook for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Fluff up the rice with a fork, adding a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving 
  13. To serve, unwrap the rested lamb and carve into generous slices. Serve immediately with the rice on the side


Recipe courtesy of