Chicken Shawarma is a popular gourmet dish that one can get at Middle Eastern restaurants.  Marinated chicken chunks are mounted on a large rotating skewer and then roasted slowly to perfection against a gas burning grill.  Due to the unavailability of such industrial roasters at homes, Chicken Shawarma has typically remained a restaurant dish.  However by learning a few tricks you can bring the beautiful flavor of Chicken Shawarma to your home without the need of such roasters.

The basic concept is to have a nice marination that mimics a good chicken shawarma flavor and then grill the chicken in such a way that keeps it juicy. Do not overcook the chicken, only  13-15 minutes of cooking on medium heat is plenty, especially when we are cooking thin slices of chicken.

The Chicken Shawarma Wrap

Once the chicken shawarma is grilled, place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and shred into thin slices. Spread those slices along the diameter of a lachha paratha, add a bit of Lebanese Garlic Paste (check recipe) , some salty pickled cucumber , few charred cherry tomatoes, roll it and voila.. you’ve got yourself a nice chicken shawarma Wrap, made at home!

Ingredients

·          4 nos of thinly cut skinless boneless chicken breast
·          1 tbsp of lemon juice
·          1 tablespoons of tomato sauce
·          4 tablespoons of plain (Greek) yogurt
·          1 tablespoons of vinegar
·          1 head of garlic, crushed
·          2 tablespoons of olive oil
to taste ·         Salt
·          ½ teaspoon of ground oregano (or thyme)
·          1 teaspoon of paprika
·          ½ teaspoon of ginger paste
·         A pinch of nutmeg powder
Other ingredients for the Wrap:
Green Chutney
Lebanese Garlic Paste
Pickled Cucumber

Steps

  1. Grilled Tomatoes
  2. Shredded Onions
  3. Lachha Paratha
  4. Lets learn how to do it:
  5. 1.    Rinse the boneless chicken breasts with fresh cold water and  cut them horizontally into thinner cuts of about ½ inch (each breast could possibly be split into 2 slices depending on thickness).
  6. 2.    Mix all ingredients in a bowl and marinate the chicken in it , cover and let the chicken marinate in the fridge overnight.
  7. 3.    When ready, grill the marinated chicken using a grill for about 15 minutes on medium heat. You can also cook the chicken on a BBQ grill if you wish.
  8. 4.    Once cooked, shred the chicken breasts thinly as in the photo and it’s now ready to be wrapped into a Shawarma Wrap. 
  9. 5.   Spread the chicken shreds along the diameter of a Lachha Paratha (check recipe below) , spread a bit of Lebanese Garlic paste, add some salty cucumber pickles ( Check recipe below), some charred tomatoes, green chutney (check recipe below)  , finely chopped onion, sprinkle some salt,  roll and enjoy.
  10. A Small Secret For Moist Chicken
  11.            Right when you take the chicken off the grill, place the chicken breasts in an empty warm pot, close the lid tightly and keep them locked for about 8-10 minutes.  The trapped vapors and moisture inside the pot will make the chicken very moist.
  12. Grilled Baby Tomatoes or Charred Tomatoes
  13. To bring a earthy charm to the recipe I have added the charred tomatoes as I didn’t have Cherry Tomatoes at home. The earthiness it brings can not be compared to the raw tomato slices. However, it is a personal choice to use tomatoes in this way.
  14. Pickled Cucumber
  15. Cut cucumber into thin slices and add to the jar with 2-4 cloves of garlic crushed and minced, 3 Tbsp white vinegar,6 to 7 Black pepper corn, 3 to 4 green chillies slit lengthwise and salt . Once everything is in the jar, fill to the very top with filtered water and screw the lid  very tightly. Shake the jar  to distribute flavors and leave on your counter top for 12 hours. Shake again and turn upside down for another 12 hours, making sure the lid is screwed on tightly to avoid leakage. After pickles have sat for a total of 24 hours you can store in refrigerator and enjoy within a month for maximum freshness.
  16. Lebanese Garlic Paste:
  17.       In Lebanon they call it “Toom” or “Toum” which literally means garlic.   Egyptian  call it “Tooma”… Greek  have a similar version which they call “skordalia” and in Spain it’s referred to as “Aioli”.  In the US it is generally referred to as garlic sauce, however the fact is that it’s closer to being a paste than a sauce. Whatever the name is, a successful garlic sauce has a white, creamy texture similar to that of mayo, sour cream or “Labneh” and with a pungent aroma of garlic, and a mouth-watering tong-tingling blood-pressure-lowering flavor that is a perfect marriage between garlic and lemon juice.
  18. This garlic paste goes very well with many BBQs, especially chicken Shawarma, grilled chicken, Kabab, BBQ chicken. The secret of making a garlic sauce lies in understanding the process of emulsification which is a process which allows liquids (water) and oils to “mix,” and turn into a “cream” in the presence of an emulsifier or emulsifying agent, and with the help of an external mechanical force such as grinding, shaking, stirring, spinning. The sequence in which oils and water are added, and the ratios also matter a lot and an imbalance can easily break the emulsification process and turn the ingredients back into a liquid state.
  19. Traditional Garlic Sauce Preparation Method
  20.         The Lebanese garlic dip was traditionally made using a pestle and mortar. People would first add the freshly peeled garlic cloves and salt to the pestle and hammer it away until it’s completely crushed. Then, they would add a tiny bit of olive oil (1/2 teaspoon) and hammer away for a minute or so, and then repeat this step for perhaps 30-40 minutes until the oil has been used, while adding a few drops of lemon juice throughout. Another way to do it is to wait on adding the lemon juice until the end. Both ways work.
  21. Modern Preparation Method
  22. Over time, the garlic paste making process slowly moved to food processors and olive oil was substituted with vegetable oils which made the dip less biting and even whiter.

Oil must be added at an extremely slow rate while the food processor is constantly running, and the oil pouring must stop occasionally for a few minutes to allow the garlic paste in the processor to absorb the new oils.

Ingredients

·          3 heads of garlic, pealed
·          180 ml of sunflower oil
·          1 lemon, freshly juiced
·          1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)

Steps

  1. 1.    Before starting, ensure  all ingredients are at room temperature for a more reliable outcome.
  2. 2.    Add the garlic and salt in the food processor and run for 10-20 seconds. Stop processor, scrap garlic down the sides, then run processor again for another 10-20 seconds. Repeat process 3-4 times until garlic starts to turn pasty and looks crushed. This is very important to reach before proceeding.
  3. 3.    Start adding the oil to the processor at a very slow rate, in a very thin stream, each 60ml at a time. After adding the first 60ml you will start seeing the garlic emulsify and turn into a paste already.
  4. 4.    Add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice very slowly, in a thin stream. Wait on it a few seconds until the lemon juice is well absorbed.
  5. 5.    Then go back to repeating the same process of adding slowly 60ml of oil, waiting a few seconds, then adding ½ teaspoon of lemon juice until you’ve used all ingredients. This process should take 8-10 minutes.

6.    If at any point you see that the paste is turning liquid, it may be an indication that you’ve added either too much lemon juice, or oil, or you may have added them at a fast rate. In this case your options may be limited especially if the paste completely breaks. Sometimes adding a cube of ice may help.

Green Chutney:

Coriander is a herb that has been in use in ancient Indian Cooking. It is soothing to the stomach, and its long term use strengthens the stomach muscles. Coriander is a leafy vegetable, high in fibre and is beneficial for diabetic and heart patients.

Green chutney, usually known as hari chutney, is a versatile Indian condiment that can be used in many different ways. It is best used as a condiment with grilled or fried food, but may be used a spread or dip too.it acts as a spreads in wraps and rolls and also as a side during meal times

Ingredients

1 cup fresh Coriander leaves,  chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp jaggery
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 to 3 green chillies
to taste salt

Steps

  1. [if !supportLists]1.[endif]With some water blend or grind all the ingredients in a blender or chutney grinder till smooth.
  2. [if !supportLists]2.[endif]Check the seasoning and add more salt if required.
  3. 3.Store the coriander chutney in a covered bowl or container in the refrigerator.Use the coriander chutney whenever required.

Lachha Paratha:

Laccha paratha is one of the Indian Breads, Unlike Roti or Parathas(Flat breads). This is a Layered , flakey paratha, made with Whole wheat flour. 

Ingredients

1 cup Wheat flour
1 tblsp Ghee
1/2 tsp Salt
Water – As needed

Steps

  1. Mix flour,a tsp of ghee,salt well and then sprinkle water enough to make a smooth dough. But let it be stiff, not too soft. Otherwise it will be difficult for handling.   
  2. Divide into 4 equal balls. Roll into big circle,as big as our tawa. Then apply a tsp of ghee evenly on the top. Either use your hands to spread or with a brush.
  3. Sprinkle a tsp of flour and spread the flour evenly and start folding like the pleats.  The finer the pleats, you get more layers.
  4. After fully done, twist and coil (roll) to make a flat round .Roll carefully, without applying too much pressure to ensure the layers are still there.
  5. Heat tawa and drizzle oil and cook in medium flame(with oil drizzled) both sides until golden brown. Use the spatula and gently press while cooking to ensure even cooking. Always cook in medium flame with constant pressing with the laddle to ensure even cooking.

The recipe has been adopted from http://www.mamaslebanesekitchen.com. However I have added some Indian flavor in the form of Lachha Paratha, Green Chutney, to suit to the palette of my family 

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