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Shawarma – Shoarma – Shwarma

May 12, 2010

~ Mary ~

No matter how you spell it, it comes out as DELICIOUS!

This poor post has been in here for THREE MONTHS!  Waiting for a story from Frank or John that’s never going to come ;-(  We’ll have to rely on my feeble memory and story telling skillz.  Thanksgiving vacation, 2008, we went to go visit Frank & Niki in Antwerp with some good friends Steph & Shawn (their first European vaca).  

One evening while wondering homeafter drinking a LOT of great Belgian beer, I wanted Frietjes.  Frietjes are freshly made at a French fry stand with a big GLOP of mayonnaise!  The stand we frequented is kitty corner to a Shawarma restaurant.

Shoarma Restaurants, Plate of Shwarma, Shawarma meat cone.

Steph & Niki wanted a couple fries too, but since I wasn’t sharing they had to get their own!  The boys wanted something more substantial and made a bee line to the Shoarma Shack.  We girls stood outside and downed our fries (so glad I didn’t share) as the boys gobbled up their pitas. Can you say “oink, oink”?

Then, in the following day or two, as we’re strolling around town trying to find a place to eat lunch, Frank is making us trek up and down EVERY street as we got hungrier and hungrier, passing more and more restaurants.  You see, with Frank there’s always something better just around the corner (right, right).  Finally the other five of us were tired of traipsing around and DEMANDED we walk into the NEXT restaurant we pass.  Low and behold it’s Shawarma!  Frank didn’t think we should, as we had already had some this trip.  We were all so HAPPY we did , because this was a STELLAR FEAST!

This was not an easy recipe to emulate and took a couple tries to get it right.  The traditional meat ,as stated on Wikipedia:

“Shawarma is made by placing strips of beef, lamb or marinated chicken on a stick; an onion or tomato is placed at the top of the stack for flavoring. The meat is roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of, or over, a flame for hours…. Traditionally a wood fire was used, now a gas flame is common. While specialty restaurants might offer two or more meat selections, some establishments have just one skewer.”

I used chicken tenders and it tasted so awesome.  The KEY is the Fenugreek spice, so be sure to make that extra trip to a spice house to get it, just as I did, you won’t regret it!

one year ago: Ohio Lemon Pie with Ginger, Bacon Explosion “Sammy”

Shawarma Spice Mix

Stir to combine:

2 tsp Fenugreek

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Allspice

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Ginger

1/2 tsp Cardamom

1/2 tsp Ground Cloves

Tahini Sauce

In mixing bowl whisk to combine – add a little water if the sauce is too thick for your liking.

1/4 Cup Tahini

1 Tbsp minced Garlic

1/4 Cup Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt or to your taste

1/2 tsp Sugar or to your taste

Chicken Marinade

place in large Ziploc bag and massage to combine:

2 pounds Chicken – boneless, skinless white and or dark meat

2 Tbsp White Vinegar

2 Tbsp Minced Garlic

3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

3 Tbsp Shawarma Spice Mix (one full recipe from above)

Let marinate for 2-24 hours.  Grill chicken until tender DO NOT OVER COOK!

Serve on pita – we made our own – it’s easy and a lot of FUN!

39 Comments leave one →
  1. Pat permalink
    May 12, 2010 9:59 pm

    WOW!!! Glad you got this one posted. It sounds enticing to say the least. I can’t wait to try it!
    What is the country of origin?

    • foododelmundo permalink
      May 12, 2010 10:14 pm

      Wiki says:
      Shawarma (Arabic: شاورما‎), is a Middle Eastern sandwich-like wrap of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or a mixture thereof. The meat is placed on a spit, and may be grilled for as long as a day. Chunks of fat within the meat ensure that the shawarma stays juicy. Shawarma is a fast-food staple across the Middle East, Indo-Europe, such as Armenia and North Africa.

  2. Pat permalink
    May 12, 2010 10:04 pm

    The picture of the meat roasting reminds of the Mexican “al pastor” which is one our favorite fillings for tacos……but those spices sure aren’t Mexican!

  3. Veronica permalink
    May 12, 2010 10:19 pm

    I’ve never heard of fenugreek–I have to google it! This sounds so yummy. One of my best friends’ favorite foods is shwarma but I’ve never had it. Now I HAVE TO HAVE IT. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe.

  4. May 16, 2010 5:12 pm

    I have whole fenugreek, but I assume you mean ground? Looks delicious. Love shawarma. 🙂

    • foododelmundo permalink
      May 16, 2010 9:06 pm

      Yes, Mo. All the spices in this recipe are ground.

  5. May 16, 2010 5:18 pm

    The spice mix sounds great! Lamb Shwarma here I come!

  6. May 16, 2010 6:16 pm

    Now that sounds and LOOKS good!

  7. May 16, 2010 6:46 pm

    Yum! I love Shwarma! I love Belgium too. You brought back memories!

  8. May 16, 2010 10:07 pm

    You’re funny. This was worth the three months!

  9. May 17, 2010 2:08 pm

    This was well worth the wait! What a fantastic way to give a burst of flavor to any meat.

  10. May 17, 2010 7:17 pm

    That is some tasty sounding chicken and the pitas look so fresh and good!

  11. May 17, 2010 9:19 pm

    Love that spice receptive! Looks good.

  12. May 18, 2010 1:35 am

    I’ve had shwarma at local restaurants and in London, but I never knew exactly what all the spices were — just knew there were lots of spices in there. Thanks for a great recipe!

  13. May 18, 2010 1:56 am

    Ohh, sounds tasty. I would not say no to have your pita for lunch today.

  14. May 18, 2010 9:13 am

    This is my favorite sandwich!! ur shawarma looks wonderful, and the pita bread awesome!!!

  15. May 18, 2010 10:26 am

    Ho`omaika`i! Congratulations! You made it to Foodbuzz “centerfold” again!! You guys come up with so many good recipes that I want to try! Aloha

  16. May 18, 2010 2:53 pm

    Thanks for this – I LOVE shawarma. Grew up on it living in the Arabian Gulf. There it was served in pita wraps, quite small, so you could easily eat 2 (0r 3?!). Nice, because then you can have one chicken, one lamb – for the indecisive ones among us! I’ve never tired making it properly – may do so now! 🙂 PS: For me, two of the key ingredients were slices of pickled beets (bright pink) and shaved onions mixed with sumac and parsley.

    • foododelmundo permalink
      May 18, 2010 3:44 pm

      That sounds like a great addition!

  17. May 18, 2010 3:38 pm

    Having lived in Israel for a number of years I experienced many wonderful versions of shwarma (a favorite of mine second only to felafel!), but it was always made with lamb– never chicken. Nevertheless, the recipe sounds marvelous and I’m more than willing to give it a try. Somehow, though, I suspect it would be even better using lamb… maybe I’ll make it twice and do a comparison!

    • foododelmundo permalink
      May 18, 2010 3:48 pm

      Yes, I’m sure, like the wikipedia quote in the post says, that it is commonly made with beef, lamb or chicken. Unfortunately, having grown up on a farm where we raised sheep, I have never been able to develop a fondness for lamb the way most people have. I’ve tried and tried to no avail. So, by all means, use the meat you prefer!

  18. May 18, 2010 4:23 pm

    I can’t tell you how long I have been looking for Shawarma recipe. Finally. Thank you for the recipe.

  19. brentlypdx permalink
    May 24, 2010 7:18 pm

    I went to a great restaurant here in Pittsburgh that had an amazing shawarma…or was it Shoarma…oh, I know…shwarma. It was like I was eating in the cooks home kitchen.

  20. May 24, 2010 7:20 pm

    Opps. that comment about shawarma, shoarma, shwarma was really Culinary Cory. It’s still looks yummy, no matter who might have written the comment.

  21. May 25, 2010 11:11 am

    This is a most beautiful and aromatic dish – I love this! Thank you so much for sharing this special recipe.

  22. June 8, 2010 8:57 am

    This is a great looking Middle Eastern dish. Looks delicious! Thanks for passing on this recipe. It looks like a good one! The closest I had gotten to something like this before was
    . Thanks again for this!


  23. December 8, 2010 12:07 pm

    I just saw shawarma on another post, went to Tastespotting to find a recipe and lo and behold its you! I must have missed this post!

    I have tzatziki in my fridge and this will be perfect. I used to make my own until my store started selling theirs for $1.99 for a 16 oz tub – how lucky am I?! 😀

  24. wanda permalink
    March 4, 2011 12:15 pm

    Made these for dinner last night…yum! Even my picky eater ate them..
    I was shocked my pita worked out too. I was a little worried because it didn’t raise very
    well but they ended up cooking up fine. Thanks Mary!!!

    • foododelmundo permalink
      March 4, 2011 8:48 pm

      Woo Hoo! Now you’ll be able to try the real deal in Antwerp during Franks wedding week and tell me if you think they taste somewhat similar.
      There’s also a delicacy at the market we call the crazy sandwich I can’t wait for you to try!

  25. March 4, 2011 3:38 pm

    Mary, I forgot to come back and tell you, I finally made this last month and we looooved it! I will definitely be making this one again. Thanks!

    • foododelmundo permalink
      March 4, 2011 8:46 pm

      Thanks for giving it a go! I take little baggies and mix the spice mix up in advance so when I get a craving it’s not as much putsy work.

  26. donnie gallant permalink
    July 25, 2011 7:55 am

    this sounds great. does anyone know if the (2 tsp Fenugreek) would be the seeds ground up or the leaves? You can buy it in both forms.

    • foododelmundo permalink
      July 25, 2011 5:04 pm

      Sorry, but I have no idea. Next time I pick some up I’ll ask.
      ~ Mary

    • foododelmundo permalink
      July 27, 2011 7:17 pm

      I just found the remains of my last pack of Fenugreek I bought. It says seeds!



  1. Chicken Shawarma Pita Sandwiches « Veronica's Cornucopia
  2. Historical Background and My Experience Making It « abelmariam

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