*I published this recipe on my Cheap and Easy Student Recipes blog, but not many of my fellow bloggers have seen it so I thought I would share it again here.
The first time I tried Shawarma was in Holland whilst I worked there. Shawarma is made with a delicious spicy marinated meat (could be lamb, goat or chicken). The dish originates from the Eastern Mediterranean region historically called Levantine (Israel, Jordon, northern Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq). The meat is cut into thin strips, tossed in a mixture of spices and packed onto a vertical spit, then roasted slowly and served in various types of flat breads; often pita or laffa (an Iraqi type of flat bread). Finally, it is served with various types of toppings, such as Tahini sauce which is made from roasted crushed sesame seeds, garlic, parsley and lime or lemon juice. Another favourite topping is made from onions, chillies and tomatoes making the finished dish very colourful.
Shawarma Spice Mix
¾ Tbsp ground cumin
¾ Tbsp turmeric powder
¾ Tbsp ground coriander
2 large cloves of finely chopped garlic
¾ Tbsp smoked paprika
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cayenne pepper,
900 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs
40 grams white onion, thinly sliced
juice of 1 large lemon
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 Pita bread or pita pockets
1. In a bowl make the spice mix first, combine the cumin, turmeric, coriander, chopped garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne and cinnamon mix well and reserve.
2. Cut the chicken thighs into thin long strips approximately 2 inches long and ½ inch wide, removing any sinew or excess fat.
3. Mix the chicken into the Shawarma spices and toss to coat. Add the olive oil, onions and lemon juice and mix again. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
4. Next make the toppings.
Tomato chilli topping
200g baby plums tomatoes cut into ¼
1 medium red onion finely diced
2 small chillies deseeded and finely diced
½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
10 grams of chopped rocket leaves ( to sprinkle on top of finished shawarmas).
1. Mix the ingredients together and season lightly with salt and pepper, then reserve.
130 g Tahini paste
2 fat cloves of peeled garlic, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Cold water (enough to make a smooth paste)
25 grams Flat parsley roughly chopped
1. Mix the Tahini paste, garlic and lime juice with a food blender. Then thin down with a little cold water until you have smooth paste. Finally stir in the chopped parsley and reserve.
Cooking the chicken
1. When ready, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (190 if fan assisted).
2. Heat up a large non-stick frying and cook half of the mix, making sure the chicken is spread out. Turn the chicken pieces over after about 3-4 minutes (when lightly brown), then cook the other side the same. Transfer the chicken onto a non-stick baking and cook the other half of the chicken in the same way.
3. Once all the chicken is on the baking tray, transfer the chicken into the oven for 5-6 minutes until the chicken temperature reaches above 75 C.
While the chicken is finishing in the oven, cut open the pita pockets
Spread a little tahini sauce on the inside of the pita bread, add chicken Shawarma and then top with the tomato chilli topping and finish with a little sprinkle of the chopped rocket.
Chicken Shawarma is a great lunch time or summer time dish and makes a great addition to any barbecue.
Watch this space for the YouTube version of this recipe coming soon!
Chicken Shawarma Serves 4 © Kevin Ashton 2021