Chicken shawarma is a popular sandwich in the middle east. It is basically a wonderful roasted chicken that has been marinated in an amazing yogurt spice mix, wrapped in pita bread with some pickle, fries and tahini or garlic sauce. The secret to a chicken shawarma sandwich that is as good as -if not better- than your favorite middle eastern restaurant is the spice mix.
Mastic is one of the key players in that spice mix, you can find it at greek or middle eastern stores, buying a little will go a long way because it is use in very small amounts in the recipes (it does wonders when added to ice cream or rice pudding).
This particular recipe for chicken shawarma came after a lot of experimenting and trying different recipes. The spice mix, cooking the onions and tomatoes with the chicken in the last 5 minutes as opposed to using them raw makes this sandwich a family favorite after the first bite.
If you want to add a smoky taste to the chicken a trick I have learnt from my aunt is to get some tin foil and make it like a little plate, heat a little peace of coal and when it starts turning red put it on the tin foil plate. Next add a little peace of butter on top of the coal, it will start to SMOKE. Put the tim foil cup on top of the chicken shawarma in the pot and cover it for 5-10 minutes. The chicken will have a smoky flavor, almost as if it was grilled
If you are not a fan of chicken maybe you could try beef shawarma, you’ll love it.
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs cut into slices(I prefer mixing both, the fat in the thighs adds flavor and keeps the chicken moist)
1 onion cut into slices
1 or 2 tomatoes cut into wedges
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tahini sauce
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mastic
Marinate the chicken shawarma
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl then add the chicken and toss to combine
Marinate for at least 2-3 hours but it is better if you do it the night before
Cooking the chicken shawarma
Take the chicken out of the marinade and add to a pot in which you have heated some olive oil
cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally untill he chicken is no longer pink and if you try to cut one piece with the spoon you can divide it easily.
Move the chicken to one side of the pan, add the onion and saute for 2 minutes.
Move the onions aside and add the onions, saute for 2-3 minutes then stir the chicken, onions and tomatoes together and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Assembling the chicken shawarmah sandwich
Open the pita bread, spread some garlic sauce or some tahini sauce.
Add the chicken onion and tomato mixture
Add some sliced pickles and fries (optional)
Roll the pita bread and serve with some fries, sliced tomatoes and pickles
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