Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma © Kevin Ashton 2021
Chicken Shawarma © Kevin Ashton 2021

*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,

Chicken Shawarma
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.

Tahini sauce
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

To Serve:
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.

Chef’s Tips:
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


31 thoughts on “Chicken Shawarma

    1. Hi Noelle,
      Are the chicken thighs, bone in or bone out?
      You can also leave the skin on if you wish.

      Hope you are well?
      In the UK, the government is beginning to worry about the new South African Covid variant and making mask wearing mandatory on public transport and in stores again. Me, I’ve continued to wear my mask throughout the pandemic because I have loved ones who are vulnerable. I’m surprised no one has written a ” whodunit” novel about Covid and its beginning?
      Best Wishes

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi Kevin, There are a ton of books out there on the pandemic but I have avoided reading them because why? we are living through it. The media here and of course Dr. Fauci are trying to make this variant sound like it’s deadly and is going to kill a ton of people. The facts are it is less deadly than Covid 19 and the delta variant. Reasonable precautions for the unvaccinated and a booster for those who are should mitigate it. We also have to wear masks when we go out here – all the stores and restaurants require it and most workplaces, by order of our Governor. Other states such as Colorade and Utah are less strict. Florida, with no mask mandate, has the lowest Covid rate in the country. Go figure.
        I have been baking up a storm – discovered my baking roots during the pandemic and am trying all sorts of new recipes until I find something I like. It took three tries with an apple cake to get it right!
        Be safe and take precautions, which I am sure you are!

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes myself and my family are all well. Here in the UK the wearing of face masks is being reintroduced for public transport and shops in the light of the new South African Covid variant called Omicron. At the moment this variant seems more contagious though the infection seems milder. The world wont fix Covid until it makes sure every country gets fully vaccinated.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I love Chicken Shawarma. I first used a recipe that called for honey in the marinade, too. The meat was cut up into cubes, stuck on metal skewers and grilled on an outdoor grill. I loved eating the meat chunks cold as well. I’ve made it baked as well, baking at a low temperature. I haven’t tried it in pita bread. Thanks for the recipe.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks GP for the heads up on my goof. I put the wrong link in but I have now corrected it.
      I still find WordPress clunky and harder to navigate than it should be. Like a lot of Iife it gets more complicated rather than easier to use. Hope you are well?
      Best Wishes
      Kevin 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I totally agree!
        I too use the “classic” editor and dislike how WordPress seem hellbent on steering users towards using block editor, even though there seems to be a substantial number of users who hate block editor. Like you said “fix it anyway”.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This looks delicious Kevin, I must try it out sometime! 😁👌👍Thanks so much for all the likes on my blog posts! 😁 It means a lot! 🙏😊

    Liked by 2 people

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