Chicken shawarma is a popular Middle Eastern (Arab) dish made with thinly shaved pieces of chicken, lamb or goat topped with parsley, onion, garlic sauce wrapped with pita bread. Any meat like the chicken, lamb, goat, turkey, beef or a mixture can be used in making the Shawarma.
The meat is placed on a spit and grilled for as long as day. Shawarma is a fast-food staple across the Middle East, Europe and the Caucasus. It is generally eaten with pita bread, tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato and cucumber.
You can add any topping which include tahini, hummus and pickled turnips. Shawarma is an ultimate delicious take away meal that is nicely wrapped in pita bread with thinly sliced meat, veggies and sauce which makes a delectable quick and balanced meal.
It is basically a type of sandwich made with meat and salad. The unique and vital element in this sandwich is the meat and the way it is prepared. It is traditionally cooked where seasoned meat and fat layers are stacked and keep turning around the heat, which is then sliced from the outer end and made as stuffing for sandwich along with salad and sauces.
The word shawarma originates from a Turkish word meaning ‘turning’ or the turning of the meat on the spit. The shawarma is slowly cooked on a rotating vertical spit. As the meat is cooked, it’s shaved off with a large knife. Since most people do not have a rotating vertical spit in their kitchen, the next best thing is either grilling the chicken outside or indoors using a grill pan.
Chicken Shawarma is a simple and easy to cook home made recipe. This Chicken version is flavored with a savory yoghurt sauce and tahini sauce. Commercially there are many variants of preparing the Shawarma and serving styles.
Earlier the shawarma was cooked traditionally over a fire wood but now is cooked on gas flames. Shawarma is eaten as a fast food, made up into a sandwich wrap with pita bread or rolled up in an Armenian Lavash flatbread together with vegetables and dressing.
A variety of vegetables can be added with the shawarma which include: cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickled gherkins, and cabbage. Dressings that can be included with the Shawarma are:
Tahini (sesame paste), Amba sauce (pickled mango with Chilbeh), Hummus, or flavored with vinegar and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Chicken shawarma is a classic dish traditionally served with garlic mayonnaise, toum (garlic sauce), pomegranate concentrate, or skhug (a hot chili sauce).
Once the shawarma is made, it might be dipped in the fat dripping from the skewer and then briefly seared against the flame. For preparing this exotic and delicious Arabic delicacy, firstly in a glass baking dish, mix together malt vinegar, ¼ cup plain yoghurt, vegetable oil, mixed spice, cardamom, salt and pepper.
Place the chicken thighs into the mixture and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, ¼ cup plain yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley.
Season with salt, pepper, taste and adjust flavors if desired. Cover and refrigerate. Cover chicken with silver foil and bake in the marinade for 30 minutes, turning once. Uncover and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through.
Remove from the dish and cut into slices. Place sliced chicken, tomato, onion and lettuce inside of pita breads. Roll up and top with tahini sauce. Chicken shawarma sandwiched in pita bread makes a delicious, appetizing and healthy meal.
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Popularity of Shawarma in India grew in the 1980s with few non resident Indians working in Persian Gulf countries. Today in some parts of northern India, paratha is used instead of pita in many this dish. You can make your own version of stuffing’s using grilled tomatoes, French fires, mayo salad, cucumber pickles which enhances the flavors and taste of the sandwich or wrap.