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Chicken Shawarma







“That kind of lovin’
Makes me wanna pull
Down the shade, yeah
That kind of lovin’
Yeah now I’m never, never, never, never gonna be the same”

- Crazy by Aerosmith

Chicken Shawarma seems like the Middle East version of the classic American burger. You know, I was thinking that with all this talk of fine cuisine, American cuisine is probably the least suspected but most famous cuisine worldwide. Who hasn’t heard of a Big Mac or Chicken McNuggets? Actually, who hasn’t eaten a Big Mac or Chicken McNuggets? American fast food chains are so ubiquitous in this globalised world.

I used to adore McDonalds and KFC when I was a kid. For kids it was like a big treat, a trip to sugarland and calorie zoo. I finally saw the light a few years ago and reduced those potentially deleterious visits to fast food chains.

But I’m human after all and don’t everyone need fast food from time to time, if only to save precious time? :)

Chicken Shawarma is the Arabian version of fast food, with chicken pieces wrapped in hot pita bread and served with tahini sauce. Traditionally it is made with a rotisserie, which means roasting the meat on a skewer. Evidently in a normal house it’s quite impossible to have a real rotisserie, so I cooked the chicken on a pan instead.

Many of the ingredients used can be found also in Indian cuisine, probably due to previous Arabian rule that imparted cooking methods.

CHICKEN SHAWARMA

Ingredients

350gr chicken breast fillet, cut into thin strips
150gr plain yogurt
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cardamom pods

For Tahini:
50gr white or black sesame seeds
1 tbsp sunflower oil

For Sauce:
1/2 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp unsweetened yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice

For Pita Bread:
1/2 red or white onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
A small bunch of fresh parsley leaves


Method

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients of marinade and blend well with chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

2. In a nonstick pan, cook chicken on a medium flame for 15 minutes. Add water if chicken becomes too dry.

3. To make the tahini, roast the sesame seeds on a nonstick pan for 5 minutes. Stir them occasionally.

4. When it has cooled, transfer to an electric blender. Add the oil and blend well until it becomes a paste. Scoop out into a bowl or container and set aside.

5. Combine tahini with the other sauce ingredients to make the sauce.

6. When chicken is ready, place inside the pita bread. Then, add the vegetables and the sauce, at your preference. And there you have it, easy fast food ;)


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