The Ultimate Chicken Shawarma


In doing one of my homeworks in the second Coursera Class I took called Child Nutrition and Cooking, my husband and I found our new favorite!

Chicken Shawarma with Cliantro and mayo drizzle

Chicken Shawarma with Cliantro and mayo drizzle

While it takes a bit of time to do it all from scratch, I would say that it is all worth it! Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish of garlicky meat or poultry served on pitas. The carbohydrate component of this meal is the pita bread; which is made from organic whole-wheat flour. According to Saad Fayed, Pita bread is served at just about every meal in the Middle East. It can be used for dipping, or to make delicious sandwiches in the pocket. In the Middle East, pita is made in brick ovens, where very high heat can be achieved. It is very hard to duplicate in a home kitchen, but this recipe, combined with high heat, comes very close. (although I can’t tell you how many times I have used the abaniko to turn the fire alarm off ^^p)

Pita Bread Ingredients:

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 cups all purpose flour( I substituted this with 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup APF)

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 cup lukewarm water

Pita Bread Preparation:

  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.
  2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
  3. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.
  4. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.
  5. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
  6. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.
  7. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  8. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to also preheat your baking sheet.

    Balls of Pita Goodness

    Balls of Pita Goodness

  9. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. IMG_9149
  10. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

    They really are puffy!

    They really are puffy!

  11. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.
  12. Take spatula and gently push down puff or slide them into halves.

    Hello to "pockets" of endless meat + veggie combo possibilities

    Hello to “pockets” of endless meat + veggie combo possibilities

On the other hand, the protein comes from the minimally processed mozarella cheese and free-range grilled chicken tenderloins marinated in garlic, curry, lime and other interesting spices.

Shawarma Ingredients:

Chicken:

2 T fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. curry powder

2 t EVOO

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

3 garlic cloves (I usually double the amount because we are garlic-fans)

 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 16 (3 inch) strips

Sauce:

1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek Yogurt

2 T tahini

2 t fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1 garlic clove, minced

Remaining Ingredients:

Oil to grease baking sheet

4 (6-in pitas)

1 cup chopped spinach

8 (1/4 in thick) tomato slices

Shawarma Preparation:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare chicken, combine the first six ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

3. To prepare sauce, combine yogurt and next 4 ings.(throw 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk

4. Thread 2 Chicken strips onto each of 8 (12-in) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side until done.

*What I really find amusing is the grilled lines (and smoky flavor) formed after you flip those chick-fillets. Oooooh! They look soooo yummy!

*What I really find amusing is the grilled lines (and smoky flavor) formed after you flip those chick-fillets. Oooooh! They look soooo yummy!

5. Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices.

in Pockets

in Pockets

or just one whole pita

The sweet and sour property of the tomatoes combined with the slightly bitter taste of the dark green leafy spinach not only balances the flavors of the whole dish but their rich vitamins also makes it very healthy. To top it off, I drizzled some Japanese mayo and tiny pieces of dehydrated fresh cilantro leaves in the fridge to save it from completely decomposing. ^^p It was so rewarding! Yay homemade meals! Yay to homemakers who love real food for their families! Yay to Cooking Light and About.com for this awesome recipe  and Yay to Maya Adam for bringing us all together! (=