Chicken Shawarma (Middle Eastern) Recipe

This Chicken Shawarma recipe is going to knock your socks off! Just a handful of every day spices makes an incredible Chicken Shawarma marinade that infuses the chicken with exotic Middle Eastern flavours. The smell when this is cooking is insane!

it’s off the charts for effort vs output: just a handful of everyday spices, garlic, a splash of lemon and olive oil transforms into the most incredible flavour.

When this chicken is cooking, the smell is incredible. Incredible!!! This Chicken Shawarma is how I met most of my neighbours when I lived in a townhouse complex. The courtyard was out the front and when I had friends round for a BBQ, random people I had never met before popped their head up over the fence, wanting to know what on earth I was making. They were elated when I handed out samples

Chicken Shawarma (Middle Eastern) Recipe

This Middle Eastern chicken is incredibly aromatic. The marinade is very quick to prepare and the chicken can be frozen in the marinade, then defrosted prior to cooking. It is best cooked on the outdoor grill / BBQ, but I usually make it on the stove. Serve with a simple salad and flatbread laid out on a large platter and let your guests make their own wraps.



Ingredients

  • 2lb /1 kg chicken thigh fillets , skinless and boneless (Note 3)


Marinade

  • 1 large garlic clove , minced (or 2 small cloves)

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 tbsp ground cardamon

  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (reduce to 1/2 tsp to make it not spicy)

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 2 tsp salt

  • Black pepper

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 3 tbsp olive oil


Yoghurt Sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt

  • 1 clove garlic , crushed

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • Squeeze of lemon juice

  • Salt and pepper


To Serve

  • 6 flatbreads (Lebanese or pita bread orhomemade soft flatbreads)

  • Sliced lettuce (cos or iceberg)

  • Tomato slices


Instructions

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag (or bowl).

  2. Add the chicken and use your hands to make sure each piece is coated. If using a ziplock bag, I find it convenient to close the bag then massage the bag to disperse the rub all over each chicken piece.

  3. Marinate overnight or up to 24 hours.

  4. Combine the Yoghurt Sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix. Cover and put in the fridge until required (it will last for 3 days in the fridge).

  5. Heat grill/BBQ (or large heavy based pan on stove) on medium high. You should not need to oil it because the marinade has oil in it and also thigh fillets have fat. But if you are worried then oil your hotplate/grill. (See notes for baking)

  6. Place chicken on the grill and cook the first side for 4 to 5 minutes until nicely charred, then turn and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes (the 2nd side takes less time).

  7. Remove chicken from the grill and cover loosely with foil. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.


To Serve

  • Slice chicken and pile onto platter alongside flatbreads, Salad and the Yoghurt Sauce.

  • To make a wrap, get a piece of flatbread and smear with Yoghurt Sauce. Top with a bit of lettuce and tomato and Chicken Shawarma. Roll up and enjoy!


Recipe Notes

  1. Pop the marinade and chicken in a ziplock bag and freeze straight away. Then as it defrosts, it will marinate!

  2. This also works well made ahead, which I recently did when I made this for 50 people as part of a multi-course meal. I grilled it in the morning and cut it up. Then prior to serving it was just heated up in the microwave. Toss it with the juices pooled at the bottom of the dish and no one will guess it was cooked earlier in the day!

  3. If using large lebanese bread as pictured (diameter is almost 30cm/1 foot), you need around 300g/10oz of chicken per person (raw) to fully fill them out without tucking the ends in. 200 - 250g/7 - 8oz per person seems to be enough on average, but I always end up providing more!

  4. Chicken - I use 6 pieces approx 5oz/150g each.


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