Shawarma- A Middle Eastern Sandwich Twist

Here Shawarma, a popular Middle Eastern street food, is getting the at home treatment to make what may be the best sandwich there is. It is meat seasoned with a blend of Middle Eastern spices served in a flatbread with coleslaw, tomatoes and lettuce with a garlic yogurt sauce. It is super simple and very tasty. Replace the meat with tofu and the garlic yogurt sauce with a tahini based sauce to make this dish vegan.  

Have you ever tried shawarma? There’s a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is but I wanna try it.

Tony Stark/Iron Man, Marvel’s the Avengers (2012)

I don’t know about you but that scene in the Avengers was the first time I have ever heard of shawarma. So when I rewatched the movie recently because of the third/fourth/who knows lockdown I decided to give it a try. Seasoned meat in a pita bread with veggie fixings sounds like win to me. So when you are tired of your ordinary sandwich or you’d like to dine like a superhero you should totally give this a go. This might be a fun way to get some vegetables and protein into children. You could even make a whole avenger superhero day of it by starting with Hulk pancake (pancakes with spinach), shawarma for lunch and a Scarlet Witch paprikas for dinner, which is essentially a Hungarian Goulash.   

What is Shawarma?

Shawarma is Middle Eastern cuisine and it is one of the most popular street foods in Egypt, the Levant and the Arabian peninsula. It consists of thinly sliced meat such as lamb, mutton, chicken, turkey, beef or veal cooked on a slowly turning rotisserie or spit served in flatbread, pita bread or a wrap. This is adorned with vegetables and pickles and often served with a yogurt based sauce. In Israel it is often made with turkey and served with a tahini based sauce in order to not violate Jewish dietary restriction which prohibits the consumption of dairy and meat together. 

Shawarma Seasoning

  • 1 tbl cumin
  • 1 tbl coriander
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste

Shawarma

Yield: 4 portions Difficulty: 1/5 Time: 20 minutes work time + time to marinade

Ingredients:

  • 500 gr meat (chicken, turkey, beef, veal, lamb), cubes or strips
  • 1 tbl shawarma seasoning
  • 1 tbl oil
  • 150 gr Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • salt
  • chopped parsley, fresh or dried
  • coleslaw 
  • lettuce
  • pickles
  • tomatoes
  • flatbread, pita bread, or tortilla wraps

Instructions:

  1. Season the meat with the shawarma seasoning and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. To keep the meat from drying out too much while cooking you can add a spoon of yogurt to the marinade, although you will have to dry off excess yogurt before frying otherwise the meat will not brown properly.
  2. Make the yogurt garlic sauce by mixing the Greek yogurt with garlic, parsley and salt to taste.
  3. Let a pan come to medium high heat and add the oil. Sear the meat until it is golden and cooked through.
  4. Warm up the bread of choice and serve with the meat, vegetables of choice and a drizzle of the yogurt sauce. 

Well, there you have an easy and delicious recipe for shawarma. I served it on a sourdough discard flatbread, but you can use anything you happen to have on hand. It just really steps up your regular sandwich game and we all need a little change sometimes. You could even serve it with some rice or roasted potatoes, if you don’t want to have a sandwich. It is super delicious and versatile. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and have a great day. Stay safe and wear a mask!   

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