Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Ever wondered if there is life beyond Gyros or Doner Kebab? Check out this Chicken Shawarma recipe that’s simply fab!

Chicken-shawarma-recipe-1-SunCakeMom

Meat cut into slices and stack on each other then slowly roasted on a vertical rotisserie or spit. If anyone thinks this is way too similar to gyros or its forbearer the kebab, it’s because at their core, they are the same thing with the difference being in spices and herbs.

All of these vertically stacked meats come from the late Ottoman empire which is the place where nowadays Turkey resides. When Kebab took on the world and started to spread, it found Greece on the West while became Shawarma on the East.

Along with Kebab, Gyros spread to the West splitting countries up among each other.

Large part of Europe like France, Spain, Germany, or the UK has been conquered by Kebab, introduced there by Turkish immigrants while Gyros found ardent fans when arriving to the shores of the US. Curiously, Canada wasn’t really fond of Gyros until it was sweetened to their taste then renamed it to donair.

What’s more fascinating though, is that while Gyros was busy touring the States and reinventing itself as fake doner kebab, Shawarma from the East, travelled on the back of Lebanese migrants to Mexico and took it by surprise, became “Al pastor” in the process.

If it is capable of gaining more territory on American shores, Piggybacking on the fame of Marvel superheroes or more precisely the taste of Tony Stark’s Ironman is remains to be seen, but Shawarma  is setting up a showdown not many of us have seen before.

As it’s with all vertically roasted meats traditionally Shawarma was made with meat available in those countries which in this case was lamb or mutton.

Over the decades and centuries though, a new breed of people, consumers, were came to existence. With that, the fridge and development in meat preservation processes made way for shifting preferences that Shawarma happily gave space on the vertical spit.

It’s up for debate if the industry standard phosphates and nitrite to keep frozen meat tasty and juicy are worth to ban or just slightly harmful for human consumption but this doesn’t really bother anyone as long as we have beef, veal, turkey and chicken pieces dancing in front of a mesmerizing gas burner.

The word “Shawarma” itself is Arabic, simply rendering of the Turkish word for “turning” which is exactly what the meat does in front of the vertical heat source.

The most common spices are cumin, cardamon, cinnamon, turmeric and paprika. Baharat, which is like the five spices of China, or Provencal herbs mixture of France, is also extensively used in some regions.

Of course, there are plenty of regional differences and tahini sauce or hummus are routinely used, instead of a dairy based sauce. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions along with various other pickled vegetables are also welcome addition to a tasty Shawarma.

Chicken Shawarma likes to stand out of the crowd by sporting garlic sauce called Toum made with vegetable oil, lemon juice and egg whites or some starch with a bit of pickles and fries on the side.

Luckily, we don’t have to make a big fuss about roasting the chicken, like it would be a case with beef or pork. All we need is our favorite skillet and a couple of minutes to roast the chicken pieces into golden brown perfection and they are ready to be rolled.Chicken-shawarma-recipe-3-SunCakeMom

Ingredients

Meat

  • 1 teaspoon / 1g Cumin (whole)
  • 1 teaspoon / 1.5g Coriander seed (whole)
  • 1 teaspoon / 2g Cardamon (whole)
  • 1 teaspoons / 3g Black pepper (whole – optional to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon / 2.5g Turmeric (ground)
  • 6 teaspoon / 12g Paprika (ground)
  • 4 teaspoons / 20g Salt
  • 12 whole / 4000g Chicken leg (about 200g boneless)

Pita

  • 5 cups / 725g Flour
  • ⅓ oz / 10g Fresh yeast
  • 1 teaspoon / 5g Salt
  • 2 tablespoons / 30ml Olive oil
  • 1¾ cups / 400g Water

Sauce

How to make Chicken Shawarma

Meat

Beginner
  1. Grind cumin, coriander seed, cardamon and the optional black pepper. Cumin-coriander-cardamon-ground-mortar-pestle--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  2. Mix in ground turmeric, paprika and salt then rub meat with the spices and herbs mixture until fully covered. Optionally, place the meat into a large enough container, place a lid on then shake until it is fully and uniformly covered. A tablespoon of cooking oil can greatly increase the dispersion. For the spices to reach their full potential, put the meat into the fridge for 12 – 24 hours.
  3. Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-marinate--gp--2-SunCakeMom
  4. We can prepare the meat in the oven similarly as we do it with Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs. Place them on the middle rack of a 390°F / 200°C preheated oven until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 175°F – 180°F / 79°C – 82°C which should happen in 30 – 45 minutes.Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-thigh-drumstick-roast-oven-gp--1-SunCakeMom
Advanced
  1. Remove the bones from the chicken thigh and drumsticks. (Or just buy them boneless.)Debone-remove-bone-chicken--gp--SunCakeMom
  2. Grind cumin, coriander seed, cardamon and the optional black pepper. Mix in ground turmeric, paprika and salt then rub meat with the spices and herbs mixture until it is fully covered. For the spices to reach their full potential, put the meat into the fridge for 12 – 24 hours.Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-marinate--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  3. Heat the skillet to high temperature, add cooking oil then place the marinated chicken pieces with some room around them, about 3 -5 minutes.Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-skillet-sear-gp--1-SunCakeMom
  4. Roast until the bottom gets golden brown then flip them over, about 2 – 3 minutes. Once both sides of the meat is done, take them out.Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-skillet-sear-gp--3-SunCakeMom

Pita

For more detailed instructions check out: Pita Bread Recipe

  1. Knead flour, yeast, salt, olive oil and water until a uniform dough forms. It can take over 15 minutes with a kneading machine.Flour oil yeast dough - SunCakeMom
  2. Cover then place it to a 68°F – 81°F /20°C  – 27°C corner to rise, for about 45 – 90 minutes. With a bit of luck and right temperature, it will double in size.Flour oil yeast dough - SunCakeMom
  3. Roll them gently into balls. In doubt how to roll the dough? Check out: How to roll bread roll No.1Pita bread recipe - SunCakeMom
  4. On a heavily floured surface, roll them out into 6″/ 14 cm diameter discs. Make sure, they don’t stick while rolling them out.Pita bread recipe - SunCakeMom
  5. Place the rolled out discs onto a floured surface. Optionally, sprinkle some water on top to prevent them to dry out, cover them with a kitchen towel then place them to a 68°F – 81°F /20°C  – 27°C corner to rise for 30 minutes.Pita bread recipe - SunCakeMom
  6. Heat skillet to medium and grill both sides of the dough until golden brown spots start to appear. With a bit of luck, it will also puff up allowing us to fill them with the meat.Pita bread recipe - SunCakeMom

Assembly

  1. Spread sauce of choice inside the pita or on top if it didn’t puff up. Add the meat and vegetables of choice.

Enjoy!

Chicken-shawarma-recipe-2-SunCakeMom

 

F.A.Q.

Whats is in Shawarma?

Shawarma is vertically stacked then roasted meat. It’s usually marinated with paprika, turmeric and cumin then served with pita bread. Most commonly served with garlic or tahini sauce although other variations exist too.

What is Shawarma vs Gyros?

The two are basically the same with the main difference being in Gyros served with Tzatziki sauce while the Shawarma with garlic sauce or tahini. They both are variations of the Turkish Doner kebab.

What is Shawarma vs Kebab?

Shawarma is a variation of Kebab so they are basically the same with the main difference being in spices and herbs used for preparation.

What does Shawarma mean?

Shawarma means “turning” and it refers to the way Shawarma is prepared. The meat is stacked onto a spit and roasted in a turning vertical roaster.

Chicken-shawarma-recipe-16x9-SunCakeMom
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5 from 1 vote

Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Ever wondered if there is life beyond Gyros or Doner Kebab? Check out this Chicken Shawarma recipe that's simply fab!
Course Main Course, Meal
Cuisine Mediterranean, Sugar free recipe
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 339kcal
Author SunCakeMom

Ingredients

Meat
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin whole
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander seed whole
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamon whole
  • 1 teaspoons Black pepper whole - optional to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric ground
  • 6 teaspoon Paprika ground
  • 4 teaspoons Salt
  • 12 whole Chicken leg about 2000g boneless
Pita
  • 5 cups Flour
  • oz Fresh yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • cups Water
Sauce
  • Aioli - Garlic Sauce Recipe
  • Tzatziki Sauce Recipe
  • Tahini Recipe

Instructions

Meat

  • Beginner
  • Grind cumin, coriander seed, cardamon and the optional black pepper.
    Cumin-coriander-cardamon-ground-mortar-pestle--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  • Mix in ground turmeric, paprika and salt then rub meat with the spices and herbs mixture until fully covered. Optionally, place the meat into a large enough container, place a lid on then shake until it is fully and uniformly covered. A tablespoon of cooking oil can greatly increase the dispersion. For the spices to reach their full potential, put the meat into the fridge for 12 - 24 hours.
    Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-marinate--gp--2-SunCakeMom
  • We can prepare the meat in the oven similarly as we do it with Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs. Place them on the middle rack of a 390°F / 200°C preheated oven until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 175°F – 180°F / 79°C – 82°C which should happen in 30 – 45 minutes.
    Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-thigh-drumstick-roast-oven-gp--1-SunCakeMom
  • Advanced
  • Remove the bones from the chicken thigh and drumsticks. (Or just buy them boneless.)
    Debone-remove-bone-chicken--gp--SunCakeMom
  • Grind cumin, coriander seed, cardamon and the optional black pepper. Mix in ground turmeric, paprika and salt then rub meat with the spices and herbs mixture until it is fully covered. For the spices to reach their full potential, put the meat into the fridge for 12 - 24 hours.
    Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-marinate--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  • Heat the skillet to high temperature, add cooking oil then place the marinated chicken pieces with some room around them, about 3 -5 minutes.
    Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-skillet-sear-gp--1-SunCakeMom
  • Sear until the bottom gets golden brown then flip them over, about 2 - 3 minutes. Once both sides of the meat is done, take them out.
    Turmeric-paprika-chicken-pieces-skillet-sear-gp--3-SunCakeMom

Pita

  • Knead flour, yeast, salt, olive oil and water until a uniform dough forms. It can take over 15 minutes with a kneading machine.
    Flour oil yeast dough - SunCakeMom
  • Cover then place it to a 68°F – 81°F /20°C  – 27°C corner to rise, for about 45 - 90 minutes. With a bit of luck and right temperature, it will double in size.
    Flour oil yeast dough - SunCakeMom
  • Roll them gently into balls. In doubt how to roll the dough? Check out: How to roll bread roll No.1
    Pita bread recipe - SunCakeMom
  • On a heavily floured surface, roll them out into 6″/ 14 cm diameter discs. Make sure, they don’t stick while rolling them out.
    Pita bread recipe - SunCakeMom
  • Place the rolled out discs onto a floured surface. Optionally, sprinkle some water on top to prevent them to dry out, cover them with a kitchen towel then place them to a 68°F – 81°F /20°C  – 27°C corner to rise for 30 minutes.
    Pita bread recipe - SunCakeMom
  • Heat skillet to medium and grill both sides of the dough until golden brown spots start to appear. With a bit of luck, it will also puff up allowing us to fill them with the meat.
    Pita bread recipe - SunCakeMom

Assembly

  • Spread sauce of choice inside the pita or on top if it didn't puff up. Add the meat and vegetables of choice.

Notes

Enjoy!

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 339kcal (17%) | Carbohydrates: 25g (8%) | Protein: 20g (40%) | Fat: 17g (26%) | Saturated Fat: 5g (31%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 96mg (32%) | Sodium: 683mg (30%) | Potassium: 258mg (7%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 146IU (3%) | Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) | Calcium: 18mg (2%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)

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