The beautiful Middle Eastern cuisine encompasses a huge spectrum of diverse yet similar delicacies.
Depending on the region, there exists many different ways of preparing a dish owning the same title.
The traditional shawarma that most people are familiar with is usually prepared on a large rotating grill. The meat is then cut into thin slices and served in a wrap with fresh salad and tahini sauce. However, each household has their own version and variations of shawarma.
I have my preferences, too. I prefer baking the red meat shawarma in the oven and turn on the grill function in the end which gives it a very delicious flavour and a nice crispy texture. But for the chicken variant, I am absolutely satisfied with my deep skillet. It turns out to be as great and tender as the one served at our local Lebanese and Syrian snack bar.
But that´s not it. You can use this chicken meat as filling for your wrap, enjoy it on its own with a nice refreshing salad or try serving on bed of raisin rice like I usually do. It is an easy dish to bring together, but tastes amazingly delicious. Together with a refreshing yoghurt tahini sauce and salad, its a party on a platter!
What To Make?
There are lots of ways you can play around with your delicious Shawarma dish, feel free to use your imagination and creativity:
- Chicken shawarma: The star of the show is the chicken. Cut into thin strips and marinate in flavorful blend of spices mixed with yoghurt and citrus.
- Rice: is the main base of this dish. You can use white or brown rice. My first choice is the exceptionally fragrant Basmati (Read here, why). A sweet addition of raisins or sultanas goes really well with its delicate taste and fluffy texture.
- Tahini Yoghurt : is not a must but highly recommended. For a fancy variant, try my famous Mast o Khiyar.
- Salad: to add a little refreshing touch.
Tabbouleh or Horiatiki are my first picks when I am in the mood of elaborate cooking, otherwise chopped lettuce leaves or iceberg completely serve the purpose. Also, diced fresh tomato and cucumber make a delicious fresh topping all on their own.
- Pickled veggies are also delicious with this dish.
A step-by-step video tutorial is available in my Insta highlights. Do have a look before you start making the this dish! Come back to rate the recipe and if convenient, do send me a photo of your remake. I love receiving your feedback!
Quick Chicken Shawarma with Raisin Rice
- 700 g boneless chicken cut into strips
- 3/4 cup thick yogurt
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice / white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp crushed black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper optional
- 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
- 1 Tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
- 1/2 tsp allspice powder
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium sized onions sliced or cut in circles
- 2 medium sized tomatoes chopped or thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 400 g basmati rice
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 black cardamoms
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 700 ml water
- 1/2 cup raisins or sultanas
- Mix all the spices in the yogurt, add lemon juice, olive oil and marinate the chicken strips in it for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat the skillet, add some chicken and fry on high medium heat until all juices from the marinade are cooked off.
- Add some olive oil, if needed!
- Cook entire chicken in batches and keep warm in a covered pot.
- You can also spread the chicken on a baking tray and broil in oven for a few min (after cooking in skillet) for a crispier variant.
- Add parsley once the chicken is done.
- Wash and soak rice in cold water for 30 min. Drain the excess water.
- Heat oil in a big cooking pan. Fry onion slices until translucent.
- Add all the spices.
- Add salt and water and bring to a boil.
- Carefully add the rice and allow to come to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and the rice absorb all the liquid.
- Turn the heat to lowest. Add raisins on top and cover the pan tightly with lid.
- Carefully open the lid after 5-10 minutes and toss the rice gently with a fork. DO NOT stir!
- Spread a layer of prepared rice on the serving plate.
- Make a well in the centre and fill it with the shawarma chicken.
- Serve with tahini yoghurt. See recipe in notes!
- You can use chicken thigh meat instead of filet. That is more flavourful.
- You can also bake the chicken instead of cooking in skillet.
- Do not stir the rice too often. That breaks the beautiful fragile grains.
- For the optional sauce : Mix 1 cup yoghurt + 4 tbs tahini paste + salt + pepper. Add a little lemon juice in case the yoghurt itself is not sour enough.