Lemon-Garlic Thin Steaks

Although Syrians are not big on steaks; this dish, ‘Sharhat Mtafay شرحات مطفاية’, will satisfy any steak-lover. Thin tender steaks are seared then “quenched” by lemon-garlic sauce. Simply good!


  • 1 pound lamb or beef thin steaks (see directions)
  • 5 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. The choice of steak is very important for this dish. Syrians eat their meat well-done, so you need a very tender cut of lamb to get the best results. Ask your butcher to cut it into thin steaks (about 1/2-1 cm) or just like Philly steaks. If lamb is not a choice, get a tender cut of beef and follow the tips in this recipe.
  2. When you have tender lamb thin steaks, sprinkle them with some salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet and sauté the steaks on medium heat for 2-4 minutes on each side until well done. You can prepare them in batches, just do not overwhelm the skillet.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together lemon juice, mashed garlic and a pinch of salt.
  4. With all steaks in skillet, add the lemon-garlic mixture all at once. You should hear it sizzle right away; hence they’re named “Quenched steaks” or Sharhat Mtafay. Make sure the mixture gets to all steaks. Turn off the heat in two minutes and serve immediately.
  5. Now if you’re using beef steaks or less tender lamb steaks, you need to do one extra step. After sautéing the steaks, add 1/2 cup of water or stock to the skillet, turn the heat to very low, cover, and leave for 30 minutes until all liquid evaporates. Then proceed to the next step.
  6. Serve with flat bread or fries and Syrian Everyday Salad salad or Tabouli Salad.

makes 2 servings