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!
I’ve recently been on a pudding making binge. I’ve been making all sorts of puddings and mousses. I recently made some Vegan Coconut Tapioca Pudding so that my grandson Jett can have some too.
I had some fresh mangoes in the fridge and decided to dress up the pudding with some fresh mangoes. I poured them in half pint jelly jars and served them at one of our barbecues. The guests and my family loved it!
This pudding is light and refreshing, best of all when portioned in jelly jars, wine goblets, or custard cups it’s good enough for company. So if you’re looking for something for dessert next time you have guests impress them with this pudding, they’ll think you spent hours making it!
It makes a great ending to a Father’s Day lunch or dinner too! Try it out!
1 cup small pearl tapioca – not instant
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
1 large fresh mango diced
1. Soak tapioca in a bowl of water overnight in the fridge.
2. Drain tapioca and place in a large pot.
3. Add coconut milk and sugar.
4. Cook over medium high heat until it boils. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar and to keep the bottom from scorching.
5. Once it starts to boil – it should be thickening and tapioca pearls should be translucent – reduce heat to low and cook another 5 minutes or until all the tapioca pearls are translucent.
6. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and mango.
7. Pour into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge until ready to serve. If you will be portioning the pudding pour into jelly jars, custard cups, wine glasses, etc. and cover.
Em Shaat is in my opinion a Middle Eastern comfort food. It’s really a cauliflower fritter made with boiled cauliflower that’s been battered and fried.
One of my Palestinian friends taught me how to make this yummy cauliflower fritter years ago. She used all purpose flour to make her batter, it was good, but a bit heavy and not very crisp. I suppose fritters weren’t meant to be crispy.
But I like things crispy so I added my own twist to this traditional Middle Eastern recipe. The secret is Mochiko (sweet rice flour). Mochiko batter is lighter and when fried turns into a crispy delight.
The recipe calls for cumin and turmeric. Both spices are used in many Middle Eastern dishes. They compliment the cauliflower nicely giving it a mild exotic flavor.
I suppose you could say that I’ve created a Fusion dish; Med meets Asia! But really, my Middle Eastern husband loves my version!
I usually serve cauliflower dish as a main course, it’s a nice (not so healthy) alternative to a meat course. But it can be served as an appetizer, snack, or side dish as well. It’s usually served warm, but it’s pretty darn good cold too!
1 Medium Cauliflower – remove the leaves but keep whole
2 Cloves Garlic – finely minced
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Tsp. Cumin
1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Parsley – finely chopped
Oil for frying
Boil Cauliflower until tender – about 20 minutes
Whisk all ingredients except cauliflower and oil together in a large mixing bowl – batter will be thin
Drain and Break up the cauliflower and stir into batter
Heat about 1 1/2″ of oil in a pan
Drop cauliflower mixture into oil and fry each side until golden brown