Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chicken Shawarma

This recipe is quick, easy, and oh so good. We love middle eastern food but rarely make it at home, usually choosing to get it at one of the restaurants in Albuquerque. We were surprised to find that it is actually quite easy to make this delicious chicken shawarma. The first time we made this was a few weeks ago, before starting this blog and we closely followed the recipe found here : http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-chicken-shawarma. This time, we made it with our own variations. We prefer more spices in our meat and we do NOT like greek yogurt. Additionally, the first time we used generic store bought pitas which were not nearly as good as the smaller, but fluffier fresh made pitas from Cafe Istanbul (http://www.cafeistanbulabq.com/Home.html). The fresh pitas really helped to make this recipe even more delicious. Additionally, the original recipe says to halve the pitas, but we found that opening them up and stuffing them instead works much better and less of the filling falls out. We also got some tabouli salad from Cafe Istanbul to go with our dinner tonight. Nick also added romaine lettuce to his shawarma for an extra crunch. This recipe can really be customized to add any variety of veggies you desire.

Chicken Shawarma with tabouli salad and pickles

Chicken shawarma

Before adding the chicken filling - sauce and onion and pickles
Chicken Shawarma frying! Almost done!

Cooking!

Tahini Sauce 

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 cup sour cream, divided
1 lemon for juice - about 4 tablespoons  lemon juice, divided
6 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
2 chicken breasts sliced into strips (about 1 lb)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon tahini (add more to taste if desired)
4 (6-inch) pitas
1/2 cup chopped pickles or cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped red onion

Directions:

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in 1/4 cup of sour cream, juice of 1/2 of a lemon (about 2 tablespoons), and 3 chopped garlic cloves. Add chicken; toss to coat. Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté until browned and done. This should be about 3 minutes per side

2. While chicken cooks, combine remaining 1/4 cup sour cream, remaining 1/2 lemon juice, remaining 3 chopped garlic cloves, and tahini, stirring well. Add more tahini or lemon juice to taste. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon tahini mixture inside each pita. Divide chicken evenly among pitas. Fill each pita with desired amount of pickles, tomatoes and onions. Serve!

What we liked:

Very easy and quick to make. Most ingredients are usually on hand - just pick up some pitas and you can make chicken shawarma! 

What we didn't like:

It was great. After our modifications to the "inspiration" recipe from Cooking Light, there is nothing that we did not like. 

What Kaspian thought about it:

He discovered some canned chili in the pantry and had a dinner of beans and corn. He loves beans. After we came home from Istanbul, he did devour a whole pita with hummus though. He loves pita and hummus and Cafe Istanbul has one of the best hummus in town!

Next time:

Nick keeps forgetting to use the steel pan. We will use the steel pan next time to make a crispier chicken.