Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps. We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.
Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off. I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat. So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe. We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan. Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!
Another one of my favorites when I’m visiting Jordan or Dubai is Shish Taouk, Lebanese Chicken Kebobs. I eat this for dinner almost everyday when I’m in that part of the world, basically because I don’t eat lamb (which I’m told is very good there) and really because I just love it.
Shish Taouk, like Souvlaki is marinated in yogurt, placed on skewers, and grilled; the biggest difference is the spices used in the marinade. I mix my marinade in a large mason jar that way I can shake it until all the ingredients are combined, then I pour the mixture into a large ziplock bag and place the chicken pieces inside. I marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator and place them on skewers just before we grill them.
Another “secret” I’ve discovered in the Middle East is to let the cooked chicken skewers “set” in a large covered WARM pan for about 5-7 minutes before serving. This lets the chicken soak up it’s juices and the meat comes out very tender and juicy.
In Lebanese restaurants in both Amman and Dubai Shish Taouk is usually served with french fries and hummus with pita bread. I prefer to have it with steamed white rice. You can even place the chicken (sans skewers) on a pita add sandwich fixings and have a Shish Taouk Sandwich.
3 pounds chicken tenderloins – cut into cubes (each tenderloin will make 3-4 cubes)
1 cup lemon juice
3 Tbls. minced garlic
1/2 cup FULL FAT Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tbls. tomato paste
salt to taste
Place all ingredients except the chicken pieces in a large jar.
Shake jar until well combined.
Pour mixture into ziplock bag.
Add chicken cubes to bag.
When ready to grill place 3-4 chicken cubes on to a skewer.
Grill until just done -do not over cook – chicken should be firm but not hard
Place skewers in warm covered pot for 5-7 minutes to set before serving.