My Lockdown Shawarma Fix
There’s something to be said for caramelized meat, pickles, crunchy salad and creamy sauces that are captured in a cloak of bread. As these ingredients bond together, the steam and acidity within them start to mingle and give rise to the ultimate flavor bomb – toasty, lightly tangy . This experience is manifested through shawarmas, kathi rolls, gyros, burgers and tacos.
During the lockdown and when stepping out was particularly hard, we craved Shawarmas. For my kids and I, our first encounter of this warm, tight roll of happiness was at Maroush, London. As I would see their little (not so little now) hands gripping these paper wrapped parcels, it motivated me to figure out how to do make this at home. At Maroush, every element is important, even down to their homemade hot sauce. The thin-ness of the pita, the juiciness of the rotisserie-roasted lamb, the mousse textured garlic sauce Toum, seems so effortless for them yet so, so good. I do not have a rotisserie and I could not source the perfect wrap but I managed to find a way to make it work. See recipe for small hacks.
- 2 large Pitas, separated in to 2 circles (makes for 4 rolls)
- 2lb. Chicken Thigh, skin removed, kept whole and not sliced
- ¾ tsp. clove powder
- 1 tsp. cardamom powder
- ½ tsp. thyme
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ½ tsp. all spice
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. white pepper
- 4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 4 tbsp. full fat Greek yoghurt
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
1. Combine chicken with marinade ingredients. Set aside for at least 10 minutes
2. Place on oiled sheet pan in to hot oven for approximately 15 minutes until
until golden and crisp. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
3. Thinly slice against the grain
4. Place in center of pita with pickles and salad, drizzled with garlic sauce.
Toum, The Iconic Garlic Sauce
- 1 cup of garlic – about 3 heads (its not too much )
- 4 cups of vegetable oil (heavy oils wont work here, such as, olive, avocado)
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. salt
Note: Please do this in the suggested stages. The goal is to have fluffy sauce with air
and emulsification. This can only happen if you allow it. Patience is your friend.
1. Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature
2. Puree garlic and salt until it’s a fine paste, scraping down the sides in
3. As the motor is running, add ¼ cup at a time of oil in a steady-thin stream. In
between each addition of oil, add 1 tsp. lemon juice. Keep going until you get
desired mousse like texture.