Shawarma is a popular dish originating from the Middle East. It’s a popular street food that is traditionally made in the form of spiced meats that are stacked on a vertical rotisserie with thin slices shaved off as it rotates. But don’t worry! We can cook our horizontally in a good old pan or on the BBQ!
Shawarma was traditionally made with lamb, mutton and chicken though these days you see it with beef too. It’s commonly served in the form of a wrap, though in some countries you see it served on plates with sides such as seasoned rice or fries, and salads. In this recipe, I’m giving you both options!
Chicken – I like to make Shawarma with boneless, skinless thighs as its juicier than breast. But chicken breast and tenderloin both work great.
Olive Oil – For a touch of flavour but also to dilute the lemon juice so it doesn’t “cook” the chicken (like we intentionally do with ceviche!).
Spices – Nothing out of the ordinary here! The only one you might not have in stock is cardamom, though these days its easily found at any grocery store. It has a piney, sort of citrusy flavour and it is a key ingredient that distinguishes the Shawarma marinade from other cuisines, such as Mexican, that regularly uses the other spices used in this recipe. In short, don’t skip it!
Spice Control – The spiciness in the Shawarma marinade comes from the cayenne pepper. It’s not a key element of the flavour so if you don’t want it spicy, either reduce or eliminate it altogether. I promise you won’t feel robbed. Lots of other flavours going on in this dish!