“GIIIIIRL, this vegan ice cream is great and I hate to bother but it’s been like a year since i asked LOL, but WHERE MY SHAWARMA *snaps fingers*????”
Can we just take a moment? Because I don’t think I’ve ever had someone rub their thumb against the middle finger so hard it makes a sound, at me. There just simply was a lack of ghettoliciousness
where I went to school. So before I break out into the cup song
by way of reply, let me say that YES, I’m sorry it took so long to write a shawarma post because you see, it’s very difficult to get shawarma
(I downright refuse to spell it out as "shwarma"
) right in home kitchens.
When done right, a chicken shawarma
consists of succulent, tangy chicken pieces shaved off a mothership stack of flattened chicken breasts that’s been marinated overnight in a carefully concocted mixture of tenderizing yogurt and spices, which is then roasted in a vertical spit that turns against a soft grilling fire. This fire is so, so soft that it merely kisses the meat. KISSES it. For HOURS. When done right, you’ll find pieces of grilled tomatoes that’s been cooked on the wide skillet that lies under the twirling mothership stack, Catching and tumbling in the rendered juices and fat. When done right, there is always a squirt of creamy toum
; a pungent garlicky sauce that some might mistake as garlic mayonnaise. Never make that mistake. Like, ever.
When done right, there’s pieces of Lebanese pickles punctuating every bite; not too overpowering, but enough kick to show its presence. This is all completely
wrapped (i.e. none of that incompletely-wrapped-because-there’s-too-much-filling
or stuffed inside a split pita nonsense) inside the day’s pillowy khubz
for easy handling, which as you can see I completely ignored because an all-wrapped up shawarma unfortunately isn’t very photogenic. Apologies. It’s all in the name of aesthetics, so make sure you wrap yours all snug and tight.
PS: To other foodwishers: You know the deal guys! Foodwishes here have no expiration date so I’ll get to them eventually. And for the anon who made a foodwish for
Salbutes (new food!yay!), I’ll make ‘em once I locate a bag of masa harina. Peace out!
LEBANESE GARLIC SAUCE/DIP
[ 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled + ¼ cup vegetable oil + juice of ½ a lemon + a generous pinch of salt, about ¼ teaspoon
Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature. Using a food processor or a pestle and mortar, mash the garlic and salt until it turns to a paste. Stop the processor and scrape garlic down the sides before running again, and repeat this process.
Keep the processor running before adding the vegetable oil, a teaspoon at a time until the mixture has emulsified. Add the lemon juice last and give it a final 20-second whiz before storing until needed. You can make this up to a week ahead and refrigerate it. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.
LEBANESE QUICK PICKLES:
[ 2 garlic cloves, peeled + 1 cup vinegar + 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoons kosher salt + ½ tablespoon each of peppercorns, mustard seed, celery seed and coriander seed
+ vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, green beans, peppers and hot peppers, washed and trimmed
In a small sauce pan, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.
Cut the vegetables into bite size pieces. Pack a jar (or two) tightly with vegetables and garlic cloves. Ladle the vinegar solution into the jars to cover the vegetables. Screw the lids on and refrigerate for a whole day before serving. This can also be made a week ahead.
SHAWARMA CHICKEN (serves 4-6)
[ 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast + ¼ cup lemon juice + 1 tablespoon tomato puree + 2 tablespoons plain yogurt + 1 ½ tablespoon vinegar + 6 cloves of garlic, minced + ½ tablespoon cumin seeds + ½ tablespoon coriander seed + ½ tablespoon ground turmeric + ½ tablespoon black pepper + ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper + 1 teaspoon garlic powder + ½ teaspoon onion powder + 1 teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon sugar or honey + ½ teaspoon dried thyme + 1 teaspoon paprika + 1 tablespoon olive oil
ingredient: 1 or 2 medium sized tomatoes, for serving.
Cut each chicken breast horizontally so that each piece is about ½ an inch thick. If you have small breasts (cue the giggles), give it a good whack with a rolling pin so they’re all the same thickness. Mix all the marinating ingredients in a blender. Transfer the chicken pieces into a shallow container and coat well with the marinade. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place a griddle pan or a skillet on high heat until very hot. Cook the chicken pieces for 2 minutes on each side until brown. Transfer chicken to an oven tray and finish off in the oven for 4–6 minutes, or until cooked through and no pink meat remains. Remove and allow to rest for a few minutes before cutting the chicken into 1cm-thick slices. Drizzle one or two tablespoons of remaining juices from the tray over the meat. Keep warm
Then, ideally, you should cut the tomatoes to “a little bigger than bite-sized” pieces, toss it with the remaining juices in the tray and blast on the broiler until the tomatoes are just roasted.
To assemble, grab a pillowy pita and form a line of chicken pieces. Spread a thin layer of garlicky toum, line up some grilled tomatoes and pickled vegetables. You can add some shredded lettuce and sliced red onion if you please, but nothing more! Roll a good, tight one and eat. Immediately.