Chicken Shawarma is a popular gourmet sandwich that you can get at Middle Eastern restaurants. Marinated chicken chunks are mounted on a large rotating skewer and then roasted slowly to perfection against a gas burning grill. Due to the unavailability of such industrial roasters at homes, Chicken Shawarma has typically remained a restaurant dish. However we’ve learned a few tricks that can bring you the beautiful flavor of Chicken Shawarma home without the need of such roasters.
We’ve experimented with at least 3 recipes; 2 of them tasted good but were closer to “Shish Tawook” (another chicken dish) than they were to Chicken Shawarma. So what we’re going to feature here is our third recipe which was adopted from a family friend whom was once a Chef at a Lebanese Restaurant in Michigan.
The basic concept in our recipe is to have a nice marination that mimics a good chicken shawarma flavor and then grill the chicken in such a way that keeps it juicy. We’ve found that our friend’s advice of using a panini or George Foreman grill is the best as it cooks fast and it keeps the chicken moist. Do not overcook the chicken, we’ve found that 13-15 minutes on medium heat was plenty, especially that we we were cooking thin slices of chicken.
The Chicken Shawarma Sandwich
Once the chicken shawarma is grilled, place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and shred into thin slices as per the photo above. Spread those slices along the diameter of a pita bread, add a bit of Lebanese Garlic Paste (check recipe) , some salty cucumber pickles, a bit of roasted tomatoes, french fries, roll it and voila.. you’ve got yourself a nice chicken shawarma sandwich, made at home! The image below is of our Chicken Shish Tawook sandwich just for illustration purposes, so you can see the chicken pieces are similar to kabobs where as in the Shawarma they’re shredded.
If you like beef try our Beef Shawarma Recipe as well. Now on to the recipe…
- 2.5 lbs of thinly cut skinless boneless chicken breast
- ½ cup of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons of plain (Greek) yogurt
- 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
- 1 head of garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon of ground oregano (or thyme)
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- ½ teaspoon of ginger powder (optional)
- A pinch of nutmeg powder
- Rinse the boneless chicken breasts with fresh cold water then cut horizontally into thinner cuts of about ½ inch (each breast could possibly be split into 2 slices depending on thickness).
- Mix all ingredients in a blender, add to a bowl and mix well with the chicken, cover and let marinate in the fridge overnight.
- When ready, grill the marinated chicken using a panini/George Forman grill for about 15 minutes on medium heat. You can also cook the chicken on a BBQ grill if so you wish.
- Once cooked, shred the chicken thinly as in the photo and it’s now ready to be wrapped into a Shawarma Sandwich. Spread the chicken shreds along the diameter of a pita bread, spread a bit of Lebanese Garlic paste, add some salty cucumber pickles, some French fries, and some grilled tomatoes, roll and enjoy.
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