This homemade chicken shawarma recipe is always in the list of my signature recipes that I want to share with my friends. It’s super aromatic thanks to all of the exotic spices, and when it’s wrapped in pita bread, you cannot imagine a more perfect combination.
What is Chicken Shawarma?
The chicken shawarma wrap is actually an Arabian fast food that originated in Turkey, which you may have heard of under the name “doner kebab”— rotating grilled meat. It soon became popular worldwide and especially favored in the countries of the Levant and Arabian Peninsula. Nowadays, chicken shawarma is a staple part of peoples’ diets in the Middle Eastern countries.
Shawarma is a common name for dishes that have thin slices of shaved meat, such as beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, or veal – served with pita bread, lots of vegetables and a sauce of choice. I guess it became famous thanks to the cool cooking method: various layers of meat skewered on a vertical spit and slowly roasted on both sides.
The main protein we use in today’s recipe is chicken. Either chicken breasts or thighs are fine, but thighs are more juicy. It’s a shame that we don’t own a revolving spit, so we couldn’t do it the traditional way. But on the bright side, we can bake them in the oven and we think that’s probably more convenient for you too! Cooking meat in an oven is the easiest method, and believe me, the taste will not be too different (of course, traditions are hard to beat).
What Spices are in Chicken Shawarma?
The soul of authentic homemade chicken shawarma lies in the spices. The basic shawarma marinade includes cumin, turmeric powder, ground coriander, garlic, and paprika. To make the meat more tender and aromatic, we also add a dash of lemon juice.
You can’t help but wonder at how these simple ingredients can lend flavor so rich and exquisite that it’s sure to captivate your palate with the very first bite.
What is the Difference Between a Gyro and Shawarma?
To any of you who have tried a chicken gyro and shawarma, it is easy to spot similarities. Mistaking the two is common if you don’t pay close attention. Both are a type of doner kebab— serving shaved meat, from a large turning meat cone, in pocket bread.
The difference is in the topping choices. Traditionally, gyros are more commonly made of pork rather than chicken, lamb or beef, wrapped in pita bread and have tzatziki sauce drizzled in. Meanwhile, shawarma can be made of all sorts of meat, and calls for a whole range of toppings: tahini, tabouli, fattoush, cucumber, and even hummus.
Is Chicken Shawarma Good for You?
Overwhelmingly consuming fat, protein or carbohydrates in the long run can be considered unhealthy. Though we cannot assure that this dish made anywhere is healthy, we are sure that our chicken shawarma recipe corresponds to our healthy eating guidelines, approved by prestigious nutritionists.
The bottom line is, not only will our dish give you a healthy amount of macronutrients, it also contains vitamins and minerals from the fresh vegetables and meat, making for a healthy, happy meal.
What to Serve with Chicken Shawarma
As a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, chicken shawarma should always be accompanied by a side of hummus. It’s traditional to put hummus inside pita bread and put the chickens in, but since there’s yogurt sauce for that, we cut up some celery and carrot sticks and served it with hummus.
|Recipes||Course||Calories (kcal)||Saturated Fat (g)||Sodium (mg)|
|Chicken Shawarma||Main Course||499||5||604|
Chicken Shawarma Recipe
- 12 oz skinless boneless chicken thigh
- 10 oz onion sliced
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 7 tsp lemon juice divided into 6 and 1
- 3.5 tbsp olive oil divided into 1, 1 and 1.5
- 8 tsp garlic minced (divided into 5 and 3)
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 3.5 oz Romaine lettuce sliced
- 3.5 oz cherry tomato quartered
- 3.5 oz avocado sliced
- 4 oz cucumber chopped
- 4 pita breads
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Make the sauce by mixing Greek yogurt, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, 3 tsp garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Prep the veg.
- Marinate the chicken with 5 tsp garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, onion, lemon juice, and the rest of the spices for 30 minutes.
- In a preheated cast-iron skillet, sear the marinated chicken over medium heat, 2.5 minutes on each side. Mix onion in with the rest of the marinade.
- Turn off the stove, take the chicken out and cook the onions using only the residual heat in the pan, about 1 minute. Then, place the chicken back on top of the onions and bake for 15 minutes.
- When it’s done, cut the chicken up and assemble to serve.