I first discovered shawarmas about 10 years ago, when my husband and I first started dating.
His father is Palestinian and makes the best shawarmas I’ve ever tasted. When we moved to South Korea, I started having major shawarma withdrawals and started a hopeless search for a recipe that would satisfy my cravings.
If you’ve ever had shawarma you know that the meat is cooked on a spit, not something the average home owns.
Last year I stumbled upon a recipe on Pinterest titled “A Mediterranean Love Affair: Pita Bread, Chicken Shawarma, Garlic Sauce, Tahini & Hummus (from scratch!).” I was sold!
I’ve made it dozens of times. The first time I made it for the girls and their babes, they fell in love. It became a staple food for our group. I swear we once ate it 3 times in one week! We now all make it regularly for our families and we’ve since done some tweaking to it.
I should add that I’ve only ever made the chicken shawarma and garlic sauce recipe from the above link. By the time we found this recipe we had already mastered a naan recipe, which goes just as well with this recipe than pita bread does. We also concocted our very own version of the garlic sauce to make it healthier.
Here are my recipes:
(I follow the recipe from the site pretty religiously, except for adding some extra spices to the mix.)
- a pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 5 breasts. Cut them into little bite size pieces. (Since moving to Korea, I’ve discovered the ease of using scissors in the kitchen to cut my kitchen, it’s quicker and you can just cut the pieces right above your bowl, saving on dishes!)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 small pack of yoghurt
- 1 or 2 crushed garlic gloves
I haven’t been able to find cardamom here so instead I made up my own stash of shawarma seasonings.
Dashes of all of the following spices. Go easy on the cinnamon and ginger and heavy on the turmeric and coriander seed. (I never measure my spices, force of habit, so you may want to follow the recipe from the site where there are measurements.)
- Ground Ginger
- Roast Cumin
- Ground Coriander Seed
- Garam Massala
Place all the seasonings, crushed garlic, lemon juice and yoghurt in a big glass bowl. Stir them all together. Then start adding the cut up pieces of chicken.
Let your little one help too:
(*Disclaimer* Mr. Bubbles not part of this recipe!)
Then stir it all together to cover the chicken.
Marinate it for 1-2 hours.
This isn’t “necessary.” I’ve made this recipe before without letting it marinate at all and it was still just as flavorful. My picky husband prefers it to be marinated over night, but since I’m the cook, I made the decisions!
When you decide to cook the chicken, heat up a big pan and add some olive oil to it.
Then add your chicken.
(I added a sprinkle of cilantro just for show!)
Once your chicken is fully cooked, put it in a plate and set it aside.
- One small pack of yoghurt (Greek yoghurt tastes best, but work with whatever you have on hand!)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- Handful of cilantro
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
You’ll need a small food processor for this one. Place the garlic and cilantro in there and let it all chop together. Then add the lemon juice and yoghurt. Keep pulsing it until it’s well blended. Voila! Easy peasy garlic sauce! And totally healthy too!
I love, love, love this naan recipe and use it for all sorts of things other than shawarma! Again, I suck at following recipes, so this is how I made it.
- 2 tsp of dry active yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2.5 – 3 cups of flour (add bit by bit, some of it will be used later to roll the dough in)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil or canola oil
- 1/3 cup of plain yoghurt (Greek or regular, I’ve tried both and both work well.)
- 1 large egg
Follow these steps:
In a big bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir it and let is dissolve until the top is frothy like so:
Once it looks like that, start adding the other ingredients. Add in the egg, vegetable oil and yoghurt and mix it all together. Then add in the salt and slowly start mixing in the flour.
Keep adding until it becomes hard to stir. At this point is when I start to get my hands dirty. Make sure your hands are clean and dig in. Once it’s formed into a nice doughy ball, place it on a floured counter top or in my case, cutting board. Start kneading. Add more flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky. This is what your dough will look like:
Place the ball of dough back in a bowl and loosely cover it for about 45 minutes to an hour, allowing the dough to rise.
Once it’s risen, place it back on your floured surface and cut it into 8 pieces. Grab and piece and start rolling it out. I can never get a consistent round shape with my naans. Unless you have a picky husband like mine, that’s not a problem. It’ll taste just as good no matter what shape it’s rolled into!
Heat a skillet and spray it with whatever kitchen spray you use. When the skillet is hot, place your rolled out naan on it and let it cook until you start to see big bubbles form in the dough. That’s when you flip it around. Don’t pop the bubbles! They give the naan that authentic look! Just flip it and let it cook on the other side for a few minutes.
Now your naan is ready to enjoy!
Hummus is another staple food in this house. Like I said, my husband is Palestinian and grew up on this stuff so we make it regularly! Everybody has a different recipe, here is ours:
- 1 can of chickpeas drained (save the juice)
- 2 tbls of tahini (there are many brands to choose from, all different brands will usually give it a different taste, so once you find one you like, stick to it!)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (depending on how much garlic you like!)
- the juice of two lemons
- 1 tbls of olive oil
This can be made in a food processor, but since I have yet to bite the bullet and buy a big enough one, I made mine in a blender!
Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend. The consistency will be really thick at first. Stop and mix it with a spoon and then start blending again. Add more lemon juice if needed. We sometimes add the juice from the can of chickpeas in addition to the lemon juice. This is up to you. You can make it as thick or watery as you desire. Once it’s well blended, scoop it into a bowl and serve! Top with a little bit of olive oil and garnish with some parsley or cilantro!
Everybody loves HUMMUS! Including toddlers!
Now that everything is ready you can start assembling your feast!
I like to have some chopped tomatoes, chopped red onion and spinach at the table to layer onto my shawarma! Add whatever else you like! Here is what our little feast looked like:
Grab a piece of naan, slather some garlic sauce, maybe a little hummus, top it with spinach, tomato and onion and then add the yummy chicken. Fold it in half and voila, shawarma at home!
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family does!