Moist, juicy and served in a pita with loads of veggies and sauce, grilled Chicken Shawarma has become our weekly favourite meal!
We made this dish for friends of ours when they came for dinner one night and they devoured it all, even the youngest who was the uncertain eater of the night. It’s tried, trued and been made half a dozen times so here it finally is!
What is Shawarma
Shawarma is a meat preparation that turns on a spit or rotisserie for as long as a day. Pieces are cut off and served while the rest continues to turn. It is served with a salad, toppings like hummus, tahini, sauce, pickled turnips and veggies.
In other cultures this dish is also known as doner kebab, gyros, souvlaki.
Since we don’t have the proper set up to stack meat on a spit and cook it all day, we have opted to marinate chicken thighs, grilled them, slice and serve family style so everyone can stuff their pitas with their favourite toppings.
When I order Shawarma in a restaurant, I get all the veggie toppings and delightfully watch as they expertly stuff them all into my pita. My eyes are always bigger than my mouth and I can never finish an entire shawarma when in a pita.
Choose from an assortment of fresh veggies like cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, chopped parsley, pickled turnips, pickles and cabbage. These days you can find pickled turnips in the grocery stores.
The sauce is equally important.
When dining out you’ll get asked if you want sweet sauce, tahini sauce, sometimes hummus or a garlic sauce (toumaia). For this recipe we keep it simple combining tahini, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and salt to make our sauce. You can thin the sauce with water if you find it to thick.
- Use chicken thighs, not breasts
- Make the tahini garlic sauce a couple hours in advance so the flavours can mingle
- If you have time marinate the chicken over night
- Chop all veggies and have them ready to go before grilling the chicken
- Serve the meal family style so everyone can make their own
Love grilled chicken, check out these chicken recipes:
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp coriander
- pinch both salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Tahini-Garlic Yogurt Sauce
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
- 2-3 tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch salt
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced thin
- 1 red onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 head lettuce, sliced or ripped into small pieces
- sliced pickles or pickled turnip
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 bag pita, sliced in half or served whole
Mix Together Sauce
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients for the tahini-garlic yogurt sauce. Cover and set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a plastic sealable bag add garlic through olive oil. Seal and shake or squishy the bag good to mix all the ingredients.
- Add chicken thighs to the bag, seal and squishy again to ensure the marinade gets all over the chicken. Let sit in refridgerator for minimum 2 hours, up to 12 hours.
- Remove chicken from bag and place on a platter.
- Over medium high heat, grill chicken approximately 6 minutes per side depending on the size of the thigh. Remove from heat and let rest under tin foil for about 5 minutes.
- Slice each thigh and arrange slices on a serving tray.
- Slather some sauce on pita and serve with veggies.