Shawarma is one of the most recognizable Middle Eastern dishes. Almost everyone is familiar with the vertical rotisserie stacked with thin slices of lamb, chicken or beef. It rotates slowly, cooking the meat on the outside first. The result is tender and juicy meat that is served with pita, vegetables and sauce.
It can seem difficult to make Shawarma at home, however, with a few key ingredients, you can come up with a decent, nay, really good homemade Shawarma, without the rotisserie.
Traditionally, Shawarma was made with mutton and chicken. Today, the meats include beef, turkey and even veal. Start off with a tender cut of steak or chicken if you are making chicken Shawarma. The meat should be boneless, the chicken skinless too.
Make sure to marinate the meat well before popping it in the oven. Don’t take the marinade, or the amount of time it takes to marinate it, lightly. This is your chance to season and spice your meat to your liking. Garlic, lemon juice and yogurt are popular ingredients for the marinade. Tahini’s marinates their Shawarma meat at least 48 hours in advance. That contributes to its delectable taste.
Shawarma cooks in its own juices and this is one of the reasons the meat is juicy and full of flavor. So if you are cooking it in the oven, low heat and slow cooking is best.
On the other hand, if you are in a rush, you can use a shortcut and simply fry the meat in a pan. When done, slice it into pieces.
Vegetables are the next key ingredient if you are to make Shawarma at home. You can have onions, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles. The choice of what to add is entirely up to you. However, you want to be sure that the servings of both the meat and vegetables are enough for your pita. You don’t want them spilling out of a too small wrap or having a wrap that is too big with too few fillings.
Just because you have decided to make Shawarma at home, it doesn’t mean you have to make all the ingredients from scratch. Pre bought pita bread will serve you just as well. You can get those from your local middle eastern grocery store or from a good middle eastern restaurant like Tahinis
The sauce seems like a small part but it is integral to tying the whole dish together and may very well be the reason why Shawarmas made in the same way taste entirely different. For instance, Tahini’s has their own sauce that gives the Shawarmas their signature taste. It’s not just about the taste either, the consistency matters too.
So are you a garlic sauce person? Or a tahini sauce person or more of a hummus one? All 3? No problem. Spread the sauce (s) on the pita bread, add your vegetables, add the meat, roll the pita bread and voila, homemade Shawarma!
You might not get it right the first time, that doesn’t mean you will not get better with time. But if making Shawarma at home feels like a hustle, order yours from a Tahini’s branch near you. We have been cooking Shawarmas for 20 years and have gotten pretty good at it.