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looking for a chicken or beef shawarma recipe

Dio di Romanese Mar 19, 2008 09:52 AM

Would appreciate some help, something that uve tried and enjoyed. I tried one recipe and it was just ok, somethin that will make my Lebanese father proud lol

  1. stellamystar Mar 19, 2008 11:44 AM

    I second that! I tried one that called for vinegar and yogurt and it almost made me vomit! Another one was lots of cardamom ($$$$) and yogurt marinade which was like chai chicken or something.

    3 Replies
    1. re: stellamystar
      Dio di Romanese Mar 20, 2008 11:47 AM

      ya stella that was the one on about.com right, I tried it too and was not impressed

      1. re: Dio di Romanese
        stellamystar Mar 20, 2008 01:04 PM

        Yes!!! So gross.

        1. re: stellamystar
          Dio di Romanese Mar 26, 2008 09:15 AM


    2. rabaja Mar 26, 2008 09:42 AM

      I was so excited to see 4 replies to this post, thought for sure someone had given up the family recipe.
      This is something I crave all of the time, and although it's cheap to get for lunch or dinner out, the options for good ones have been slim in my neck of the woods.
      Really hoping someone has a good recipe somewhere.
      Are you thinking of the meat on the spit, where you shave it off? Or will chunks of grilled meat do?

      1 Reply
      1. re: rabaja
        stellamystar Mar 26, 2008 11:14 AM

        Either on the spit or the regular grilled meats. I think for the home cook, grilled chicken pieces are most ideal.. I like mine into small chunks served over hummus...maybe if we keep bumping the thread some kindly Middle Eastern Chowhound will relent. :)

      2. chowser Mar 26, 2008 12:22 PM

        Not a family recipe and it might be similar to the one from about.com since it has both yogurt and vinegar, but I like this recipe:


        I don't know if it will make your Lebanese father proud since, as the site said, a schwarma should be done on a tower pit. But, make your own flatbread (it's great made on the grill) and you'll have a nice meal. I make a tatziki to have with it.

        1. scubadoo97 Mar 26, 2008 02:26 PM

          Just saw this post today but made shawrma chicken for 20 people last Sunday. You can buy shawrma spice mix in many Middle Eastern markets. I had some on hand but wanted to pick up a large container. Unfortunately the one I bought had the aroma of saw dust so I ended up beefing up the spice mix with the things that are common like cumin, coriander, turmeric, allspice, garlic powder, cinnamon. Once I had a very aromatic blend I first took several boneless skinless chicken breast and boneless skinless chicken thighs and marinaded in yogurt and LOTS of shawarma spice. The chicken stayed in this for a good 24 hours. Before cooking I added a good dose of olive oil to facilitate grilling. I grilled the chicken on the gas grill but used a fair amount of wood for smoke. The chicken was allowed to rest before slicing and the results got rave reviews from my guest. The chicken was served along with pitas, tahini sauce/tarator bi tahini, Turkish salad, yogurt sauce and pink turnip pickles as well as many other dishes.

          8 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97
            alkapal Mar 27, 2008 09:37 PM

            that sounds terrific, scubadoo! did you make your turnip pickles? is it easy?

            1. re: alkapal
              scubadoo97 Mar 28, 2008 10:13 AM

              Yeah, turnip pickles are super easy. I'll try to post a recipe but there are plenty on the web.

              1. re: scubadoo97
                alkapal Mar 28, 2008 11:06 AM

                thanks, i'll google. more interested in ease factor.

                1. re: alkapal
                  scubadoo97 Mar 28, 2008 12:38 PM

                  Okay my recipe for pink turnip pickles is as follows

                  2 lbs of turnips
                  1 beet peeled and cut
                  3 1/2 cups of water
                  1/2 cup vinegar
                  2 Tbs salt
                  3/4 tsp of sugar

                  Slice turnips into what ever shape you like. Rings, sticks or wedges. Cut the beet as well in the same shape. Mix all other ingredients and stir to dissolve salt. Pour over turnips and beets and place in jars. Let stand for a week or so then refrigerate.

                  Here's another pickle recipe

                  Cauliflower salad
                  1 large head of cauliflower, cut up
                  1 stalk of celery, peeled and cut
                  4 cloves of garlic, minced
                  3/4 Tbs of dried oregano
                  1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
                  1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced
                  2 whole green, red or yellow peppers, cut into slices
                  3 onions sliced

                  1 qt water
                  1 cup vinegar
                  1 1/2 Tbs salt
                  ! Tbs oil.

                  Blanch the carrots, peppers and onions and shock in cold water. Place in large bowl with cauliflower. Add 2 heaping Tbs of salt, oregano and crushed red pepper. Mix well and let stand 2 hours. Meanwhile, make brine and add to vegetables. Put into jars and top with brine. Let sit out for a couple of hours then refrigerate.

                  1. re: scubadoo97
                    alkapal Mar 28, 2008 12:54 PM

                    THANKS! Those ARE easy! I love the vinegary crunch of turnip pickles alongside the rich garlic sauce and marinated chicken nestled in a warm pita. Sheer heaven, I say!

                    1. re: scubadoo97
                      stellamystar Mar 31, 2008 09:18 AM

                      white vinegar? I cannot wait to make this!! Probably tonight....! Talk about a low cal crunch, too.

                      1. re: stellamystar
                        scubadoo97 Mar 31, 2008 09:28 AM

                        Yes white vinegar is used in these pickles.

                        1. re: scubadoo97
                          stellamystar Mar 31, 2008 06:25 PM

                          ok - i made them and they are on their 2 hour sitting time. I think I blanched a bit too long...but I'm looking forward to it tomorrow.

            2. DiveFan Mar 26, 2008 03:00 PM

              Last year I became addicted to the spices of shawarma and started the 'reverse engineering' process. I concluded that the most important spice used for beef and lamb shawarma is allspice. I marinate meat strips in allspice, garlic and olive oil overnight before grilling (I don't have a vertical spit roaster).

              A great alternative preparation has popped up in the recipe database:
              Since this marinade includes acid I wouldn't marinate overnight.

              Most 'traditional' recipes I've found on the Internet are like this one:
              The main spices are cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and garlic. I'd go very, very easy on this combo since overdoing it will make your meat taste like a baked dessert or Chai Chicken :-).

              I would never buy a mix since the above whole spices are readily available in any supermarket. Whole allspice is very inexpensive in latino oriented markets.

              To the OP, good hunting and let us know which way that you found best!

              1. sixelagogo Mar 27, 2008 03:58 AM

                I'm hoping someone posts a good recipe, as terrific schwarma is not something typically made at home...If you really really really want to surprise your pop, I suggest you find a recipe for the garlic sauce that accompanies schwarma...very garlicy, but not hot. More like an aoli.
                Good luck!

                10 Replies
                1. re: sixelagogo
                  alkapal Mar 27, 2008 09:38 PM

                  garlic sauce (so addictive): http://www.gomideast.com/articles/rec...

                  1. re: alkapal
                    sixelagogo Mar 28, 2008 03:52 AM

                    That's it? I'm definately going to try it this weekend..the last time i had it in Michigan, the waitress said that the cook, who made it has been making it for over 30 years, used ice cubes...ice cubes? i asked...yes, ice cubes...I don't know how or why, it's just what he did....Alkapal, have you made this recipe? It is hot with garlic or just super garlicky?

                    1. re: sixelagogo
                      alkapal Mar 28, 2008 04:26 AM

                      some better-looking recipes:

                      ice cubes? not a clue why used -- and not mentioned anywhere in these recipes. i haven't made this sauce. eaten plenty, though!

                      1. re: sixelagogo
                        DiveFan Mar 28, 2008 01:44 PM

                        I'd highly recommend recipe #3 above (Zankou sauce clone). IMO the thoum sauce really needs the potato or bread thickener for texture and to temper the raw garlic. You could even pan roast the garlic - easy!
                        Note that this sauce is virtually identical to the Greek sauce named skorthalia. I'll bet that the Turks really invented it (and many other things they don't get credit for).

                        Also Big Thumbs Up for scubadoo97's pickled turnip recipe, one of my favs at Zankou. Probably some Armenian or Persian heritage there?

                        1. re: DiveFan
                          scubadoo97 Mar 28, 2008 02:41 PM

                          Syrian Jew here. Grandparents from Aleppo.

                          1. re: scubadoo97
                            alkapal Mar 28, 2008 02:52 PM

                            divefan, i think you are right --- comments to recipe say the same: need potato to get a good texture. i could eat the stuff by the spoonfuls! just had some today (found it in fridge) with my kicked-up spanakopita. which i also ate with tabbouleh (gettin' my greens) and pico de gallo!

                            scubadoo, you didn't happen to choose "scubadoo" 'cause it rhymes with Syrian Jew? ;-) (just teasin', ya know!!!)

                            I love your posts. Always look for them especially on "fish" issues. who knew you were a mid-east chef, too!

                            1. re: alkapal
                              scubadoo97 Mar 28, 2008 03:20 PM

                              I'm an avid scuba diver and did a fair amount of spear fishing until the shark population began to increase over the last couple of years. 97 was the first year I got online.

                              1. re: scubadoo97
                                alkapal Mar 28, 2008 03:33 PM

                                i sure hope i didn't offend you!

                                1. re: alkapal
                                  scubadoo97 Mar 28, 2008 03:51 PM

                                  Not even a little bit alkapal.

                                  1. re: scubadoo97
                                    alkapal Mar 28, 2008 04:04 PM


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