Chicken Shawarma

chickenshawarma3

My cabinets are brimming with spices.  Spices allow for big taste without the heavy calories.  I imagined that making a shawarma dish would be rather difficult because I lacked the usual cooking utensils.  I lack the space and budget for a large rotating-roaster; however, I found this chicken shawarma recipe that does my taste buds justice.  With a few easy steps, you can have an authentic, Arabic dish to satisfy a rumbling tummy.

Shawarma is an Arabic meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day.  Shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat on a stick.  An onion, a tomato, or a halved lemon is sometimes placed at the top of the stack for additional flavoring.  Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit.  Although it can be served in shavings on a plate (generally with accompaniments), shawarma also refers to a sandwich or wrap made with shawarma meat.  Shawarma is usually eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato and cucumber.  Toppings can include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips and amba. It is similar to Turkish döner kebab and Greek gyros.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I halved the recipe by using just one package of chicken rather than two (two pounds).chickenshawarma
  2. It is important to marinade the chicken overnight allowing the spices and flavors to be absorbed.
  3. I decided to keep my breast whole and making cross cuts.
  4. In place of cayenne, I used chili powder.  Add a little, or add a lot for a kick of spice.
  5. I cooked my chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
  6. I nixed the second part of the recipe because I did not want to overcook the chicken and thought it worked well in a spice balance.
  7. I suggest following it more closely for a more traditional shawarma.
  8. Cutting the chicken into strips allows for more marinating to take place.
  9. The chicken works well in pitas with hummus or baba ghanoush.

Arabic dishes are heavily seasoned with various combined spices to obtain a certain flavor.  The dishes are decadent and a party in the mouth.  They are complicated meals made simple.

Leave a comment with your favorite Arabic dishes.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

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