Shawarma is one of the world's most popular street foods.
It is meat cut into thin slices originally made with lamb, stacked on a large skewer slowly turning while cooking, much like a rotisserie. Thin slices are cut off with a long sharp knife.
The first time this technique of cooking meat appeared was in the 19th century Ottoman Empire (today’s Turkey) where it is called Doner Kebab. In Greece it is also a popular dish called Gyro. In other words Shawarma is eaten all over the Middle-East and surrounding countries.
In Israel today Shawarma is mostly made with dark meat chicken or turkey.
It is often served out of street kiosks with few scattered seatings outside or specialty Shawarma restaurants.
Commonly it's served in pita bread as a sandwich with Israeli salad, some pickles and tahini sauce drizzled on top or on a platter with the same ingredients.
Home made Shawarma is cooked much more simply stove top to accommodate a smaller family sized portion with delicious tender results. I make this once a week.
I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs with the fat trimmed off for my shawarma since I find them to be the most tender and moist part of the chicken. They also cook fast.
Some people cook the chicken in the oven first but I prefer to cook them stove top as the juices remain in the pan this way and create a much more tender shawarma. It also takes less time.
Here is my version which comes out perfect each time!
Ingredients: All ingredients can be adjusted to taste.
6 chicken thighs boneless and skinless
Olive oil 2 - 3 tablespoons.
2 small or 1 large onion sliced thin
Shawarma seasoning - this is the perfect seasoning for this dish. It can however be made without this by omitting it. See my link at the bottom of the page (I have seen this spice by Pereg in Fresh Market)
1 teaspoon Paprika
I teaspoon of harissa sauce or chilly pepper (I have seen Harissa in Fresh Market ) See link on bottom of page. Leave this out if you don't like spicy food
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Salt or to taste (we like a little more)
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
Parsley ½ cup, chopped
Dry chicken thighs with a paper towel.
In a large wide pan heat the oil and sauté thighs for a few minutes on each side until slightly brown. Take out and place on plate to cool.
In same pan which you sautéed the chicken thighs, fry the onions until golden and translucent. Add a little more oil if it is all absorbed.
Add spices to onions, stir and fry for a few minutes letting the flavors open up. Add the parsley leaving a little over for garnishing in the end. Stir all together for a few minutes
Slice cooled chicken thighs into thin strips. Add strips to pan and stir gently with onions and spices.
Simmer for about 30 minutes adding a little water if your mix looks dry so that the chicken strips don’t get burned to the bottom of the pan.
Stir every few minutes and adding a little more water if and when it’s needed. If you think the olive oil has been completely absorbed you can add a little more and stir it in.
The shawarma should look moist. Test to see if the chicken is ready by inserting a fork to check that it is tender.
Add the remaining parsley, tossing it into the chicken mix and give it a light stir just before serving.
Serve with rice and Israeli salad. A perfect delicious dinner on any night. Beteavon! (bon appetite in Hebrew) Your Hebrew lesson for the day!