Since returning from our summer vacation in Jordan and Dubai we’ve had a yen for the popular sandwich served everywhere in the Middle East, the ever popular Chicken Shawarma.
Shawarma is really meat, beef, chicken, veal, turkey, lamb, or a mixture of meats, grilled on a vertical spit; pretty much like how the Greeks prepare Gyros. You see these spits almost on every corner around Amman. This sandwich or plates are available from the corner snack shop to the food courts in the malls to even the high end restaurants around town. They range in price from about $1 to $5 depending on where you buy it; but regardless of where you buy and how much you pay you’re almost sure to walk away with something delicious.
At home in Hawaii finding shawarma is nearly impossible, we have very few Greek restaurants and even fewer Middle Eastern ones. I’m sure we’ve tried them all; some are adequate, but most we’ve found lacking. The only way to get good Middle Eastern food is to make it at home.
So how was I supposed to make my favorite chicken shawarma? I don’t own a vertical spit and wasn’t about to buy one; frankly I doubt I’d ever figure out how to use it. Surely there was an easier way to make this yummy dish using equipment I already own, namely my stove. I looked online and found several recipes that called for either oven roasting the chicken or frying it on the stove. I didn’t care how it was cooked as long as it tasted good. After experimenting with different spices I finally came up with a recipe that my husband says is almost exactly like the chicken shawarma we enjoyed in Amman.
Really the secret is in the marinade, that’s what makes the chicken tender and gives it that tangy spicy flavor. I marinate the chicken over night, roast it in the oven, then make the sandwich on fresh pita with veggies and that oh so yummy garlic sauce. The sauce is really a must for this sandwich, to learn how to make it click here.
Shawarma sandwiches are great for lunch, dinner, or snacks. Really I can eat them all day long! My grandsons love them too!
My recipe uses FULL FAT Greek Yogurt – I’ve tried it with the non-fat or low-fat yogurts, it doesn’t come out as tender.
2 pounds chicken tenderloins – cut in half lengthwise
2 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup FULL FAT Greek yogurt
Fresh Pita or French bread
Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a ziplock bag.
Put chicken pieces in bag and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Place marinated chicken on parchment covered baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes – turning chicken half-way thru the cooking time.
When the chicken is cooked put your sandwich together. You can either cut the pita in half to form pockets you stuff with the chicken and other sandwich fixings or you can place all the fixings on top of the whole pita then roll it up tortilla style. When I roll it up I like to wrap the bottom half in parchment or wax paper to keep the sandwich together. Of course if you’re packing them to take along then it’s easier to roll them and wrap them in paper.
Which ever way you put the sandwich together first spread some of the garlic sauce on the bread – then put in the chicken and veggies then drizzle the whole thing with more garlic sauce.
It’s really yummy! Enjoy!
For my Beef Shawarma Recipe click here!