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! (=

Sushi Party: Care for some “Tofu” Sushi?!


It wasn’t until Joseph and I went to an “all-you-can-eat sushi” restaurant called Robson Sushi that I realized “inari” (tofu sushi) and tomagoyaki” (egg sushi) existed.

Inarizushi. Definitely a favorite (=

Inarizushi. Definitely a favorite (=

After a few clicks here and there, I found out that Inarizushi is also known as “stuffed sushi.” It uses tofu instead of vinegar rice on the outside and usually contains the vinegar rice on the inside. The tofu “pouch” is deep fried to create “aburaage,” or fried tofu bags.

At first, I improvised using “tofu puffs”. I found out that you could make more sushi using these kind than to get the real tofu packets from the store. (Tofu puffs are less expensive and they form a solid base after you cut it in half.

These semi-homemade recipe came together quickly and most satisfactorily. Considering that the rice was prepared in a rice cooker and the tofu puffs were sold prefabbed, the only real work was measuring the dressing, toasting some sesame seeds, and assembling the whole package.

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package tofu puffs (cut in half)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • scallions (finely chopped)

Tofu Puff Seasoning: 6Tbsp sugar, 6t mirin, 1T soysauce

Directions:

1. It is crucial to wash the tofu puffs with hot water so as to remove the excess oil in it.

2. Toss the Tofu puff seasoning and let the tofu soak for a bit and until it boils. (2-3 min.)

3. Drain the excess seasoning and lay the pockets on a plate.

4. Take a spoonful of cooked vinegar rice and place it into the pockets, making sure it is snug.

5. Garnish with  scallions and sesame seeds.

6. Okay… now it is time for some Sushi party ^^,

The Plan

The Plan

Looks like...
Looks like…

it was...
it was…

"approved" (=

“approved” (=

 

Whole Wheat Stawberry Pancakes


Weekend Mornings aren’t complete without this lightly-browned fluffy creatures lying on your breakfast table.

Like many “health and fiber-conscious” people,  I don’t really want to use the “empty” refined all-purpose flour. Remember, the dietary expert and my Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention instructor Katie Ferraro MPH,RD, CDE said that “fiber” is the future!

Therefore, the more fiber you add in your servings the better off you will be.

And so, here is a recipe that will satisfy that premise.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pancakes
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Servings: 7
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Organic Whole Wheat flour 
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp fat free milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • sunflower oil
  • Nutella spread (for a little swirling only!)

Directions:

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon until there are no more dry spots; don’t over-mix.

3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Lightly coat it with oil and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter.

4. Wash strawberries, cut the top part off and cut them lengthwise.

5. When the pancake starts to bubble, you may add your strawberries if you wish. (or you can add them on top of your pancake tower later)

6. When the bubbles settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes.

7. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

8. Get that fork and dig in! ((=
Makes 14 pancakes.

Calories: 171.7 • Fat: 2.1 g • Carbs: 31.5 g • Fiber: 4.9 g • Protein: 8.9 g • Sugar:2.5 g
Sodium: 561.4 g