Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma
Staff Writer
Chicken Shawarma
Sawsan Abu Farha
Chicken Shawarma

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 pickles, 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 used in very small amounts in 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 and cooking the onions and tomatoes with the chicken in the last five 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 learned from my aunt is to get some tin foil and make it like a little plate. Heat a little piece of coal, and when it starts turning red, put it on the tin foil plate. Next, add a little piece of butter on top of the coal. It will start to smoke. Put the tin foil cup on top of the chicken shawarma in the pot and cover it for five to 10 minutes. The chicken will have a smoky flavor, almost as if it were grilled.

2
Servings
307
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Notes

*Note: Mastic is an essential part of the spice mix for this recipe, and can be found in Greek and Middle Eastern grocery stores as well as online.

**Note: I prefer mixing both; the fat in the thighs adds flavor and keeps the chicken moist.

Ingredients

For the marinade

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Cup yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini sauce
  • 1/4 Tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon crushed bay leaf
  • 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground mastic*

For the chicken

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs, sliced**
  • 1 yellow or white onion, sliced
  • 1-2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • Tahini sauce, for serving
  • French fries (optional)
  • Sliced pickles (optional)

Directions

For the marinade

In a medium-sized bowl, mix all of the ingredients together and set aside.

For the chicken

Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, preferably overnight.

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Drain the chicken and add it to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear (a meat thermometer inserted into the center without touching the bone should register 165 degrees).

Move the chicken to the edge of the pan, add the onion, and sauté for 2 minutes. Move the onion aside and add the tomatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then stir the chicken, onions, and tomatoes together and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Open up the pita bread to form a pocket, and spread some tahini sauce inside. Add the chicken, onion, and tomato mixture. Add some french fries and sliced pickles, if using. Roll the pita bread and serve.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
21g
30%
Sugar
16g
18%
Saturated Fat
17g
71%
Cholesterol
11mg
4%
Carbohydrate, by difference
30g
23%
Protein
3g
7%
Vitamin A, RAE
40µg
6%
Vitamin B-12
1µg
42%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
38mg
51%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
1µg
1%
Calcium, Ca
26mg
3%
Choline, total
8mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
2g
8%
Folate, total
16µg
4%
Iron, Fe
1mg
6%
Magnesium, Mg
22mg
7%
Niacin
1mg
7%
Phosphorus, P
57mg
8%
Selenium, Se
3µg
5%
Sodium, Na
303mg
20%
Thiamin
2mg
100%
Water
94g
3%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Chicken Shopping Tip

Buy whole chickens and ask the butcher to quarter them for you. You will save an average of $5 per pound, or more.

Chicken Cooking Tip

Allow meat to rest for at least ten minutes before slicing into it; otherwise, the juices will leak out.

Chicken Wine Pairing

Pinot noir, gamay, merlot, zinfandel, carménère, pinotage, or grenache with grilled, roasted, or other simply cooked chicken; chardonnay, pinot gris/grigio, pinot blanc, or chenin blanc with chicken in cream or light tomato sauce or with chicken crêpes or croquettes; sauvignon blanc or sémillon with fried chicken; viognier with spiced chicken dishes.