I’ve heard it said many times that Lebanese cooking is the best cuisine the Middle Eastern countries have to offer. Lebanese restaurants are the go to places when one has a yen for Arabic or Middle Eastern food. This seems to be one of the few things that Arabs from around the world can mostly agree on.
I must confess that in my experience this is usually true. Lebanese cooking is definitely top notch and any where we travel we look for a Lebanese restaurant. Among my favorites are Al Halabi in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates and Wafi Gourmet in both the Dubai Mall and Wafi Mall; Reem Al Bawadi in Amman; and Mandaloun not far from the Spanish Steps in Rome.
But what makes Lebanese cuisine so great? I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that one of its secrets are the spices they use. Their Lebanese 7 Spices Mix in my opinion is the key to their delicious entrees.
Lebanese 7 Spices Mix contains many of the spices found in cuisine in and around that region. It has cumin and coriander for sure and 6 other spices making it actually an 8 spices mix. Why it’s called 7 Spices is beyond me unless the ground black pepper isn’t counted as a spice.
Anyway whatever you call it seasoning grilled meats and stews with this Lebanese 7 Spices Mix makes for a delicious meal! I like to keep a jar on hand and use it in marinades and of course for one of the family’s favorite dishes Mesaf or Fatiyeh, a dish of stewed meat in yogurt sauce.
You can mix up a batch of Lebanese 7 Spices Mix to add to your stews too. Just be sure you store it in an airtight container. I use pint sized mason jars to store all my spice mixes.
A Beef Shawarma sandwich or plate! Yum! It’s one of my favorites. It’s one of the things I always order when I find myself at a Middle Eastern restaurant anywhere in the world.
Shawarma is sort of like the Greek Gyro or Turkish Doner Kebab; it’s a cone of seasoned meat or meats that’s cooked on a vertical spit. Typically beef, lamb, and chicken are combined to form the large hunk of meat which is slowly grilled as it turns on its axis on the vertical spit. Pieces of cooked meat are shaved off and stuffed in a pita with sauces, veggies, and pickles or placed on a plate with a serving of salad, hummus, rice, and pita bread.
I believe Shawarma started out as Middle Eastern street food where the sandwiches can be taken to go and eaten on as you go. But these days you’ll find mixed meats, beef, and chicken shawarma on fast food and restaurant menus throughout the Middle East and beyond.
We love this tasty dish so much that we make it at home since there really aren’t any good Middle Eastern restaurants where we live. Recently I’ve started making Beef Shawarma in my Instant Pot! It’s the easiest and fastest way to make it!
We usually make Beef Shawarma sandwiches but we’ve also made Beef Shawarma plates and bowls. We also use the leftover meat to top hummus, assuming we havhttp://www.savvynana.com/wp-admin/e leftovers that is!
But really the secret to this Beef Shawarma that tastes like you got it from a Middle Eastern restaurant isn’t in the way it’s cooked, the secret’s in the spice mix that’s rubbed on the meat! Marinating the meat overnight ensures that the meat is infused with the exotic flavors of the spices. Cooking it in the Instant Pot just makes the cooking process faster, but you can actually make it in the oven or on a grill if you don’t own this handy dandy electric pressure cooker.
Once you make the Beef Shawarma you can make it into a sandwich and top with your favorite toppings such as hummus, tahini sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, and I love it with Tzatziki sauce! (I know I’m mixing Arabic and Greek foods, but who cares? It tastes great!)
Using a small knife drill 12 holes all over your roast
Stuff a garlic half in each hole
Mix Shawarma Spice Mix with 2 Tbs. ACV and 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
Rub this spice mixture all over the roast then place the meat in a covered dish or ziplock bag and let rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. I find that overnight works well.
30 minutes before cooking set the meat on the counter and let the temperature go down to room temperature
Place remaining olive oil in instant pot and set pot to saute
Sear the meat on all sides for about 5-8 minutes per side
Add beef broth and remaining ACV to the pot
Cover making sure the valve is set to sealing
Set pot on Manual and adjust time to 60 minutes
When pot turns off allow pressure to release naturally
When pot is completely depressurized carefully open the lid and remove the meat
Shred the meat and place in a bowl or baking sheet. At this point you can use the meat to make sandwiches, plates, or bowls. Or if you prefer you can crisp the ends by sprinkling a bit of the broth over the meat and popping the pan in the oven to broil on high for 10 minutes or just until the ends turn darker brown. If you are crisping it keep a close eye on the meat as it will burn quickly in the broiler.
Store any leftovers with a bit of broth to keep it from drying out. Reheat in the microwave or in the over, drizzle some of the broth over the meat before reheating.
Shawarma is a typical Middle Eastern street food that’s sold on street corner kiosks, fast food joints, and restaurants in Middle Eastern countries and beyond.
It’s sort of similar to the Greek Gyro but is seasoned with different spices and allowed to marinate for at least a few hours. It’s usually cooked very much like the Turkish Doner Kebab which is a cone of mixed meats (beef, lamb, and chicken) cooked on a vertical spit. Typically it’s served as a Shawarma Sandwich which is pita bread stuffed with shaved meat, tahini sauce, and fresh and pickled veggies. It can also be served as a plate with rice, salad, hummus, and pita bread.
Today most Middle Eastern restaurants and fast food places serve specific shawarma meats such as beef or chicken shawarma in a sandwich or as a plate. Needless to say both are very popular in our family!
But the real secret to Shawarma isn’t the meat or the way it’s cooked. The secret lies in the spices used. You can make shawarma in your oven, grill, and even in your Instant Pot. In fact I always make it in my Instant Pot! I’m working on an article to share how to make Beef Shawarma in an Instant Pot; but before I can make any type of shawarma using any method I have to season the meat!
I’m actually a big believer in spice rubs. I make all sorts of rubs for different things such as my Basic BBQ Chicken Rub. I mean sauces are great for adding flavor to meat after it’s cooked, but what really gives meat great flavor are rubs and marinades. So if you want to make homemade shawarma that tastes like you ordered it from a Middle Eastern restaurant you’ll need this Shawarma Spice Mix.
I usually mix up a large batch; large meaning enough mix to fill a quart sized Mason Jar. I store my Shawarma Spice Mix in a sealed jar in my pantry, it stays fresh for about 3 months, assuming you don’t use it all before then! The spice mix can be used for beef or chicken shawarma and can even be added to other recipes when you’re wanting to add a touch of exotic flavorings.
To use the mix as a marinade for shawarma I use a teaspoon of mix per pound of meat. Combine the mix with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, and a pinch of salt then massage it on to the meat. Place the meat in a ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Here’s a new hummus flavor I whipped up for the family. It goes great with the Beef Shawarma wraps I make. It’s very easy to make. You can use a food processor, but I was too lazy to take out my processor so I made it in my Ninja blender, it worked just as well.
I use sun dried tomatoes I buy in the open markets of Venice. I store them in the freezer and soak them in water for a few hours before using them. You can use the sun dried tomatoes they sell in jars at the produce section of your local supermarket. As for the roasted red pepper I just use the ones in a jar I get from the supermarket.
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1 cup chick peas – Garbanzo Beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbls. sesame tahini
1 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
Juice from 1 lemon
Extra Virgin olive oil (optional)
Place tomatoes in blender or food processor – blend until finely chopped
Add red peppers – blend until finely chopped and mixed well
Add chick peas, oil, tahini, garlic, salt – blend until it becomes a soft paste
Add lemon juice – blend until it’s absorbed
Move to serving bowl or dish. If desired drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil before serving.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!! Who doesn’t eat chicken, other than vegans? Even people who have allergies have eaten chicken. There are so many breeds of chicken. In the Philippines we have our own famous breed called “NATIVE CHICKENS”. They come from provinces across the country and are famous for their flavor and reduced fat.
Chicken across the country; across the sea; and across the world; chicken is everywhere! Today I’m going to give you a round-up of chicken recipes from around the world!