Chicken Shawarma

I had another post planned for today, but this recipe just booted it. Make room for Chicken Shawarma.

Shawarma

I never had Chicken Shawarma until a couple years ago, which kind of blows my mind. I mean, it falls under the umbrella of Middle Eastern food, all of which I am obsessed with. Except that one dish that involves fish and tahini sauce. Sorry, Mom. Never liked it – never will.

I’m not trying to harp on my mom here, but I’m also wondering why we never ate Chicken Shawarma in our house. What gives?!

Good thing I got myself a great recipe so I can stop griping about all the Chicken Shawarma eatin’ I didn’t do and get started making it for myself. Every night.

Marinade

Every step of this recipe is short and sweet – just like the girl writing about it. Kidding. Kind of.

Seriously though, Chicken Shawarma  comes together in under a half hour. There are worse ways one could spend their time. For example – in thirty minutes, you could watch one full episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Or…you could make yourself some shawarma.

The biggest thing is just getting the timing down, so you’ll want to start by making a marinade for the chicken. All you’ll need is a little lemon juice, some curry powder, olive oil, a tiny sprinkle of salt, cumin for some smokiness, and garlic. Uh huh to all of that.

Marinade2All right – step one is done. Just let the chicken sit still in this delicious concoction for twenty minutes. It’s hard to believe, but so much flavor seeps into the chicken in this twenty minute time span – trust me! The depth and complexity of flavor is crazy. Plus, the chicken gets great color from the spices we incorporated.

Now that our chicken is all set, we can focus our attention on the rest of the ingredients.

Sauce1Sauce2Sauce3
Above, we’ve got our delicious shawarma sauce that makes this meal! Start out with some plain Greek yogurt and then just stir in lemon juice, garlic, tahini and salt. Could it be any easier? I think not. This bowl can hang out in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your sandwiches, which will be soon!

Toppings

I know I just told you in the previous paragraph that the sauce is the shining star of Chicken Shawarma, but the co-stars (aka the toppings) may just take the cake. I love my pita pocket packed with the works – thinly sliced tomato, romaine lettuce, cooked red onion and sweet pickles. I know – it’s kind of a mish-mash of randomness, but each of these toppings adds a little somethin’ somethin’ to the sandwich. They are all completely necessary – nothing here is overkill.

Shove them in your sandwich so we can all be on the same page.

Pita

Here are those pita pockets – just waiting to be stuffed to the gills with some Shawarma. Mmm!

Chicken

All we need is our chicken, which I popped in the oven to broil for just a few minutes on each side. See what I mean about the color from the marinade? It takes just a second to see that this is not your every day, run of the mill chicken breast. In fact, it’s anything but.

Chicken Shawarma

adapted from Cooking Light
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
Chicken:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken tenders

Sauce:
6 oz. plain 2% reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Remaining Ingredients:
Cooking spray
4 (6-inch) pitas
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
8 (1/4-inch-thick) tomato slices
sweet pickle slices
1 red onion, thinly sliced (raw or cooked)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450.

To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to use cooked red onion, place thin slices you’ve tossed with a little olive oil on a cookie sheet and bake until you get a little char on the edges – usually, I just let them hang out in the oven until my chicken’s ready to go in.

While your onion slices in the oven, prepare sauce by combining yogurt and next 4 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove). Keep sauce in fridge until you’re ready to assemble sandwiches.

Then, arrange toppings – tomato slices, romaine lettuce, sweet pickle slices, and your cooked onions (once they’re done) – on a plate and set aside while the chicken cooks up.

Switch oven from bake to broil so you can cook your chicken. Line a pan with aluminum foil and coat surface well with cooking spray. Place chicken tenders on pan and put pan on the top rack in the oven; broil 4 minutes on each side or until done.

To assemble sandwiches, slice pitas in half to create a pocket; smear some sauce in each pocket, then stuff with a couple pieces of lettuce, tomato slices, onion and pickles. Make room in there for two or three chicken strips and enjoy!

BiteThank you to my handsome, hungry hand model for letting me take this quick pic before he destroyed the rest of that sandwich.

That thing didn’t stand a chance.

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