Updated: Apr 5
Learn how to make this delicious healthy dish from the Levant Region of the Middle East!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Inactive time: 2 to 48 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 2 to 4 people
Another healthy, economical, and easy to make Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dish that because of its simplicity it has become a favorite at our house. It truly does not require an advance culinary skill level to make. All you have to do is marinate, bake, and serve. That's all!
This is a perfect dish for family dinner, dinner in a rush or on the go, social gatherings, or just for a simple snack. It is full of flavor, low in fat, protein loaded, and delicious! It can be served as a salad topping, a wrap, a sandwich, a side dish, or a main dish. No matter how you decide to eat it: it will be a hit!
What is the flavor profile of this dish?
Savory, spicy, and herbaceous.
What ingredients will I need to make this dish?
Chicken thighs (deboned and skinless), olive oil, lemons, a medium size red onion, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, paprika, cumin powder, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, sea salt, black pepper, and cinnamon.
What else will I need to make this dish?
A bowl or ziploc bag, a cutting board, a knife, measuring cups & spoons, a baking tray, and aluminum foil.
Can I make substitutions?
You can use fresh garlic and onions if preferred. Also instead of of olive oil, you could use canola or vegetable oil.
If you are not fond of chicken thighs, just use chicken breasts, turkey breast, lamb, beef, veal, or mutton.
What is Shawarma?
Shawarma is a Levantine-Arab dish consisting of meat cut into thin slices, stacked in a cone-like shape, and roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit. Originally made of lamb or mutton, today's shawarma may also be chicken, turkey, beef, or veal. Thin slices are shaved off the cooked surface as it continuously rotates. Shawarma is one of the world's most popular street foods, especially in Egypt, the countries of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula, and beyond.
Shawarma is prepared from thin cuts of seasoned marinated lamb, mutton, veal, beef, chicken, or turkey. The slices are stacked on a skewer about 60 cm (20 in) high. Lamb fat may be added to provide extra fat for juiciness and flavor. A motorized spit slowly turns the stack of meat in front of a heating element, continuously roasting the outer layer. Shavings are cut off the rotating stack for serving, customarily with a long, sharp knife.
Spices may include cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric and paprika, and in some areas baharat. Shawarma is commonly served as a sandwich or wrap, in a flatbread such as pita or laffa. In the Middle East, chicken shawarma is typically served with garlic sauce, fries, and pickles.
In Israel, most shawarma is made with dark meat turkey and is commonly served with tahini sauce because serving yogurt sauce with meat would violate the Jewish dietary restriction of not eating milk and meat together. It is often garnished with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, pickled vegetables, hummus, tahini sauce or amba mango sauce. Some restaurants may offer additional toppings like grilled peppers, eggplant or french fries.
2 to 3 pounds of deboned/skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium size red onion, sliced
1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon of onion powder
1.5 teaspoons of turmeric
1.5 teaspoons of paprika
1/2 tablespoon of cumin powder
1.2 tablespoon of coriander powder
1/2 tablespoon of sea salt
1.5 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, paprika, cumin powder, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, and black pepper.
Place the chicken in a bowl or bag. Add the spice mix and coat the chicken throughly with it. Add the olive oil and the juice of 2 lemons. Rub all together.
Cover and let it rest in the refrigerator anywhere from 2 hours to 48 hours. The longer it rests the better the flavor.
Once ready for cooking, preheat the oven to 350º F.
Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Add the chicken and onion slices. Mix all well.
Bake for 25 minutes then broil on high for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven, slice the chicken and serve.
Printable recipe (PDF) below: