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!
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.
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:
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!