Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma Sandwich

Chicken Shawarma is the most loved and craved for snack that we get in Saudi Arabia. Brands like Yamal Asham and Mama Nourra have become so famous, they've become large chains. Maccoys for some reason seems to operate from the same old shop, though still so popular. The shawarmas that you get in Riyadh are the Lebanese style. When I went to Riyadh this time, I got a bottle of shawarma spice.
Its just a spice mix and its contents are as follows:
  • Turmeric
  • Red Chilly
  • Coriander
  • Black Pepper
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
 Credit: Lebanese Recipes


For Chicken Shawarma:
  • 1/2 kilo chicken thighs or breasts, skin removed, bones removed and pounded to even thickness
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Shawarma spice
  • 1 tablespoon allspice toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed toasted and ground
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped summer savory - I did not use this
  • 1 onion, grated
  • Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For Assembly:
  • 6 thick pitas or Khubz
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 6 leaves Boston lettuce/Iceberg Lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (optional)
  • Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Cucumber and Carrot Pickle
  • French Fries
  • Garlic Sauce (Thoom) / Garlic Tahini Sauce / Hummous

Combine the lime juice, olive oil, spices, garlic, summer savory and grated onion in a medium bowl.
Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat.
Cover with plastic and marinate in the refrigerator for four hours.
Preheat the barbecue on medium.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess.
Skewer the thighs on a long metal skewer, stacking them flat on top of each other.
Season the chicken thighs and put them on the grill.
Cover and cook the chicken, turning the skewer every few minutes for even cooking, 25 to 30 minutes or until charred on the outside and chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Note: I did not use any skewers. I just heated a frying pan and placed the chicken pieces on it to grill on each side. You may drizzle a little olive oil over it to avoid it from sticking to the pan.

Spread garlic sauce or hummous on pita/khubz.
Slice chicken off the skewer in thin shavings and serve it wrapped in pita bread along with the tomato slices, lettuce, french fries and pickles. You can also add chopped parsley to it.

Note: I used home-made french fries as they felt more authentic. Just peeled a potato and ran it through the french fries blade of my food processor, and deep fried them. Drain on tissue towels. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over it.

The Authentic Saudi shawarma contains:
  • Khubz
  • Chicken
  • Cucumber pickle
  • Garlic Thoom
  • French Fries