Chicken Shwarma

by jerseygirl on February 24, 2011 · 25 comments


When I was in college I had the luxury of ordering food until the wee hours of the morning. After a night out with friends, you could always stop at the “Grease Trucks” on the way home. They were available 24 hours a day. Many of the grease trucks carried Middle Eastern sandwiches and college was where I was first exposed to gyros and shwarmas. I am no longer able to order sandwiches at all hours of the night. We don’t have a good variety of Middle Eastern restaurants where I live either. So I decided to create my own shwarma. A shwarma is a Middle Eastern wrap usually on pita bread and consists of some type of shaved roasted or grilled meat. I went with chicken and the nice thing is you can put any toppings on that you like. I prefer tahini sauce, cucumbers and tomatoes but onions, herbs and pickles are also added. In the recipe below, I went light on spices however you can add more curry and cayenne (which I did) if you like more spice. Try one and I guarantee you’ll love it!


Chicken Shwarma

1 large lemon, juiced
3 TBS olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
dash of cayenne powder
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

In a large container, mix together lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, curry, and cayenne. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay chicken in a roasting pan and bake for 35 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Shred chicken with knife and fork when cooked.


Tahini sauce

1/4 cup tahini paste (sesame paste)
2 TBS plain yogurt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS olive oil
dash of cayenne, paprika and salt to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and add water to thin out to whatever consistency you would like.

Now it’s time to put this assemble this sandwich. You will need:

Pita breads
chopped tomatoes
chopped cucumbers

To make the chicken really good, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and saute the cooked chicken so the pieces get nice and crusty. Grill the pita breads so they are warm. Add some chicken, toppings and sauce to the pita. Make sure to eat while warm!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Ciao Chow Linda February 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm

You're bringing back memories of when I was in grad school – there was a middle eastern dive right across the street from my school and chicken shwarma was what I always ordered. Never thought to make it myself – until now.

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vanillasugar February 24, 2011 at 9:23 pm

printed this one out.
i love this stuff in a roll up with cukes, red onions, olives and hummus. yes hummus. if you ever make this again add a layer of hummus in it. good stuff man

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Tiffany @ Eat at Home February 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm

this looks fantastic!

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Jersey Girl Cooks February 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Dawn, I forgot to add that my husband added a layer of hummus to his sandwich with the next day leftovers. It is good that way!

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Jeanette February 24, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I've never had shwarma, but this looks awefully good!

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Katrina February 24, 2011 at 11:01 pm

That looks really good. I love hummus.

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miss February 25, 2011 at 12:42 am

This looks really good, I've never tried it but I think I must!

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Pegasuslegend February 25, 2011 at 1:26 am

sounds and looks awesome!

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Aggie February 25, 2011 at 8:57 am

Oh my goodness Lisa this looks amazing!! I have to make this for my hubby (and me!…wonder what I could sub chicken with, portabella mushrooms maybe?) I love middle eastern flavors, sooooo delicious!!

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marla February 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

This chicken looks awesome. I too remember those "grease trucks" we used to go to in the wee hours of the morning at Syracuse University – gosh those days were fun!

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megan @ whatmegansmaking February 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

oh my goodness, I am so making these! And I have the perfect recipe for soft wrap bread to go with them! :)

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Lisa February 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Another love in common – Middle Eastern food! So tempted to go to Trader Joe's right now and buy their flat bread to make this for lunch.

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DaniD February 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm

This looks delicious Lisa! Same here, in college I was first exposed to many international cuisines that my mom would never have tried…and restaurants were probably not our usual stops! I can't wait to try this…thanks :)

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That Girl February 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm

One of my friends had schwarma for lunch yesterday and I've ben thinking of it ever since.you just solidified my desire to have some this weekend

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teresa February 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

oh yummy! so fresh and healthy, but also just packed with flavor.

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Cookin' Canuck February 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Wonderful flavors in this Lisa! I could happily eat one of these everyday.

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Katie@Cozydelicious February 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

This looks fantastic! Perfect midnight food. Yum!

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Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] February 27, 2011 at 6:17 am

Having been born in the Middle East and them being widely available here in India, I can recognise a good shawarma anywhere, and that looks really good!!

Interesting adaptation with the tomatoes and cucumbers.

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Jen_from_NJ February 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Oh I love chicken shwarma! Great idea!

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Mary February 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm

There are such wonderful flavors in this dish, Lisa. It looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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Megan March 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I wish I had one of these for todays lunch! :)

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kat March 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Yeah totally makes me think of the after bar snack food we used to get in Columbus, OH

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Ben the Crock Pot King September 9, 2011 at 10:28 am

I'm Jersey to Elizabeth. But I live in Los Angeles now when I saw Shwarma forget about it I had to bookmark the recipe. I L.A. we have the best Shwarma's in the planet! Because there's a ton of Armenianans in L.A. and it's over the top here. Either way what you have is awesome as well!!! Keep it up!

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Jeannie September 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Talking about making someone hungry…..wow….those shwarma's look good and just reading the ingredients make your mouth water. yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Kelly June 11, 2012 at 8:56 am

Because I am essentially a lazy cook and hate cleaning pans, I put frozen chicken tenderloins (not breaded) into my crock pot, poured the seasonings over the chicken, and left it on low. The chicken was all cooked through in about 4 hours. Shredded the chicken with forks, and…done.

Great, easy recipe with easily obtainable ingredients. Thanks!

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