Updated: Oct 26
Shawarma is one of the most popular street foods in Israel and in Levantine Arab countries. The word shawarma means turning- a reference to the way the meat is grilled. The meat (lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats) is circulated on a vertical axis in front of a fire or other heat source and slowly cooked. A large knife is then used to shave it off the stack and it drops on a tray underneath. The thinly sliced tender meat is served inside a flatbread wrap (called ‘Laffa’) with tahini, hummus, chopped salad, pickles, and fries.
In our family, there is a consensus about shawarma. Everybody absolutely loves it, it's our children's first food choice when we travel to Israel. So I knew I had to find a way to prepare it at home. Since purchasing a mini grilling axis or lighting the bonfire outside every time we crave shawarma is out of the question, I figured the oven would be the best bet. It’s not the same fatty, juicy, and rich original taste, but it’s close, and most importantly – it’s quick and easy and a great way to satisfy a hungry gang.
2 lb. (10- 12 pcs) boneless skinless chicken thigh (fat removed - use kitchen scissors for that)
Olive oil (about ½ cup)
2 onions sliced into thin rings
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons store-bought Shawarma spice mix, OR make your own blend using the following ingredients:
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons Baharat (OR a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom)
Preheat the oven to 425℉
Grease a large baking sheet with olive oil and place the chicken on the sheet.
Add all dry spices and rub them onto the meat.
Bake until chicken is golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over low heat, add the onion rings, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden.
When meat is ready, let it cool and remove it to a cutting board, then thinly slice, as thinner as you can.
Add the sliced meat into the large skillet with the onions, and over medium heat mix it all together, stirring frequently until the meat slices are lightly browned.
Serve on a plate with a variety of salads, or in a pita with hummus, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, and tahini.