If you’ve seen The Avengers, you know that shawarma plays a role, albeit a small one, in Marvel’s magnum opus to citywide destruction and dudes in weird suits. Shawarma also happens to be one of the most awesome foods ever invented. Back when I lived in Virginia, I used to go to Lebanese Taverna because they rocked the chicken shawarma like nobody’s business.
Aside from being in The Avengers, shawarma could conceivably play a role in my current game, Assassins Creed: Revelations. AC:R takes place in Constantinople, a city that is smack dab in the geographical area that shawarma and other levantine foods originated from. Granted, the shawarma sandwich we eat today is pretty far removed from what would have been made circa 1511 but the idea of meat being cooked on a spit, horizontally back then as opposed to the modern, vertical method, is one that you can imagine being around as Ezio walked the streets of Constantinople. Nothing hits the spot after executing some Byzantines like a tasty shawarma sandwich.
I prefer chicken, but shawarma can be made with beef, lamb, goat, turkey or any combination thereof. If you want to get that authentic shawarma feeling you need to cook your meat on a cone, which may be difficult for a home cook, but you can still marinate the meat and grill it up in a manner that is shawarma-y enough for home use. This is a Cooking Light recipe, which means it skews more towards ease and convenience than authenticity but it still tastes damn good. Give this one a try and then you can move on to more authentic fare.
Chicken Shawarma Sandwich
1. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3. 1 teaspoon curry powder
3. 2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
4. 3/4 teaspoon salt
5. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6. 3 garlic cloves, minced
7. 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 3-inch strips
1. 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
2. 2 tablespoons tahini
3. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
5. 1 garlic clove, minced
1. 4 (6-inch) pitas
2. 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
3. 8 tomato slices
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Combine the first six ingredients and then toss the chicken to coat. Let it stand at room temperature for around 20 minutes.
3. Combine all of the sauce ingredients and stir well.
4. Thread 2 chicken strips onto each of 8 (12-inch) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until done.
5. Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices. Divide the chicken up evenly among the sandwiches and drizzle each serving with 2 tablespoons sauce.
Give this one a try the next time you need a quick sandwich on the go as you scour ancient cities for remnants of a lost civilization. Or, you know, on a Tuesday night.