I love Middle Eastern food. A lot. While the best chicken shawarma I have ever eaten was in Dearborn, I sampled this dish at many restaurants, where it ranges from excellent to especially dry. I am delighted that I have perfected this dish for home preparation and consumption.
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup olive oil
2 t cumin
2 t paprika
1 t allspice
1 t turmeric
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t garlic powder
1/8 t cayenne
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
Put first 1/4 cup olive oil in gallon-size ziploc bag. Add all marinade spices to bag. Squish it around with your hands until it’s all combined.
Cut each breast into 3 big chunks. It’s probably okay to leave each thigh whole. Add chicken chunks to the bag of marinade. Make sure all pieces are immersed in marinade and then put in fridge for 6-24 hours.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, prep your grill. (You could also roast the chunks in the oven at 400 for 8-10 per side.) I grilled the chicken at medium heat. The marinade is oily, so you’ll get some flames. Watch the chicken carefully. Remove each chunk to a cutting board when it’s done. (Discard the marinade and bag.)
In a large bowl, combine the sauce ingredients.
Slice each grilled chicken chunk into 1/4-1/2-inch slices. Then, add them to the bowl containing the sauce.
Once all the chicken is in the bowl, stir the chicken chunks into the sauce. Your mouth will be watering.
You could eat this in a variety of ways, but here’s what I recommend.
- Get Middle-Eastern-style pita breads. They’re thin, light in color.
- Get a jar of dill pickle slices.
- Get some Middle Eastern garlic dip/spread. I find it at the deli counter at Busch’s. This component is essential, so if you can’t find it, make some. Here‘s a recipe. (It looks involved, but you’ll see there are only 4 ingredients.)
- Get or make some tabbouli or other Middle Eastern salad.
- Get some hummus.
- Slice up some tomato and cucumber.
- Get or make some pita chips. (They’re easy to make. Just use a pizza cutter to cut stale pita bread into chunks. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper on bread chunks. Then toast the chunks on a jelly roll pan in a 400-degree oven until they brown and crispy. Maybe 10 minutes, depending on thickness of bread.)
Make sandwiches with the pita bread, garlic spread, pickle slices, and chicken. Put hummus, salad, pita chips, and veggies on the side. Pig out! (Best consumed outside on a beautiful summer evening, but this meal is tasty all year long.)
This dish has been met with rave reviews from eaters of all ages, even my picky 8-year-old.
I hope you love it as much as I do.