HOMEMADE SHAWARMAMy husband asked me what’s cooking today. I told him “shawarma”. I think it somehow rang a bell in his head. It sounded familiar to him. He said that he saw this word “shawarma” and saw a big rotating meat from the glass window at this Middle Eastern restaurant, but not sure what it was all about.

Shawarma (from cevirme in Turkish), means rotating. Shawarma is also known as doner kebab. Shawarma is traditionally made from lamb. In Israeli cuisine though, shawarma is made from turkey with lamb fat added. To make a real thing, you need a huge skewers fitted with a special heating device. The sliced marinated meat is stacked on the skewer, which rotates slowly and roasts it on all sides. The meat is then shaved and stuffed into a pita together with hummus or tahini dip and parsley sprigs, while others think that shawarma should be served with fresh or fried onion rings, French fries, salad, pickles and tahini.

Of course with this homemade shawarma, you don’t need any of those huge skewers or special heating device, which I don’t have at home and don’t plan on investing in one either. The author, Janna Gur, did mention that even though the process of the traditional and the homemade shawarma is different, the result is quite similar, and extremely tasty. The deboned chicken thighs are baked in the oven and stir-fried prior to serving. It is the extended marinating in a massive amount of spices gives the chicken its robust flavor and color. I personally feel that this is fairly easy to make and tasty. Hubby (and I) now knows what shawarma is and how it tastes like.


HOMEMADE SHAWARMA (8-10 servings)
What you will need:
  • 1½ kg (3 lb 5 oz) deboned chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp chicken bouillon
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil/grape seed oil
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a disposable baking dish (the most practical because the process is messy). Add the chicken and mix well. Marinate for a minimum of 5 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C)
  3. Bake for 45 minutes. The entire process up to this point may be completed a day or two ahead and the baked chicken stored in the refrigerator
  4. Before serving, finely slice the chunks of chicken
  5. Fry the onion in oil until golden and remove from the pan
  6. Add the chicken with some of the marinade to the pan. Season and stir-fry for a few minutes, until the edges are golden-brown. Spread the fried onions over the meat and serve


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