Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish of chicken, beef, or lamb, that’s loaded with aromatic spices that make your mouth water. The marinade for this Chicken Shawarma has to be the very best marinade you will ever try. The flavor is an interesting mix of savory garlic, sweet spices like all spice, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg, and tangy yogurt and lemon. It’s pure magic! Traditionally, shawarma consists of paper-thin slices of meat from a vertical rotating spit. The result is a deliciously tender, flavorful plate of chicken, beef, or lamb. But, I'm pretty sure no one has a spit in their kitchen. Also, I'm very particular about my shawerma meat. Most people cook shawerma at home on the stovetop or sliced and put in a baking dish or sheet pan. Well, here's a way to make it in the oven and yet close enough to being cooked on a spit. A magical blend of yogurt, lemon, and mediterranean spices makes this homemade chicken shawarma mouthwateringly delicious. To serve, the meat is shaved off the cone and wrapped in flatbread.
Shawerma Spices (big batch)
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup ground all spice
2 tablespoons ground cloves
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 cup yogurt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or squeezed
3 tablespoons Shawerma Spices
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced horizontally
Shawerma Spices: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.*
Make marinade: Mix together yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and Shawerma spices in a big bowl.
Add in the thinly sliced chicken slices. Mix well and marinate for a few hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut two onions in half and stick a chopstick through the middle of each half, cut side down.
Place the four onion halves on a baking sheet next to each other in the shape of four corners.
Take each piece of chicken and skewer it onto two chopsticks, alternating perpendicularly between the four chopsticks, till you have a tower of chicken.
When all the chicken has been skewered, top each chopstick with half a tomato.
Place the tray with the tower into the oven and bake for 1 hour.
Remove and slice thinly. Serve as a sandwich, salad topper, or bowl.
This makes enough to season about 21 pounds of meat. Use about 1 tablespoon of seasoning per pound of chicken, lamb, or beef. The batch can even be made larger by simply doubling or tripling the recipe. You can also halve the recipe for a smaller batch.
Chicken Shawarma can be served bowl-style with Middle Eastern Rice Pilaf and your choice of toppings, or wrapped in a pita with toppings. It’s delicious with garlic paste, Tahini sauce, hummus, and/or any Mediterranean style salad. Garnish ideas include tomatoes, red onions, and/or pickles.