Thursday 13 October 2011

Its a Wrap

Right.  This is going to be the last "wrap" post for sometime.  There are only so many wraps one can make and it is is time to move on, but before I do, I have to share with you the ultimate kebab - the Chicken Shawarma. 

Now, I know that a Shawarma should really be cooked by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat (beef, lamb or marinated chicken) on a stick and roasting it slowly on all sides in front of a flame for several hours.  And I know that that is not entirely practical for the average kitchen but what I am really trying to recreate here is the wrap, stuffed full of aromatically spiced roast meat, lashings of Tahini or Hummus, a juicy tomato, onion and cucumber salad, shredded lettuce and heaps of chilli sauce.  Rightly or wrongly, that's what I want, when I think - Shawarma.  

The first thing you must do is track down some really good Arabic flat bread which is called Khobez.  Do not settle for pitta. I know you can make your own but what I love about knocking up a kebab for dinner is that it is so damn quick and easy.  If you add, making flat bread to the equation, suddenly its not so damn quick and easy, plus a good pitta is easy to make but a really good flatbread is something else.

Anyway, find your nearest Arabic shop, be it Lebanese or Turkish, or maybe you have a good Greek or Cypriot shop near by. (Check out my directory). They are all sure to sell good flatbreads or wraps for Kebabs.  Once you have found them, stock up, because they freeze really well and whilst you are there, pick up some Hummus, unless you want to make your own, and some long green pickled chillis, unless you pickle your own, and if you are really lucky or lazy, depending on how you look at it, some Shawarma Total Seasoning, or you can make your own.  There are a billion different recipes for the spice mix but it usually contains a selection of Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Paprika, Sumac, Cardamom, Clove, Cumin and Cayenne Pepper.  It is this unusual, perfumed blend of spices that makes this dish so delicious. Marinate your chicken, leave it overnight and the next day, you can assemble a fantastic meal in a matter of minutes.  A kebab is even great for entertaining.  Everyone just helps themselves. Because everyone likes their kebabs to be just the way they like them. 

I have entered this recipe for Sweet Heat # 5 over at Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops because it is such an effortless recipe to rustle up for friends and goes down great with a couple of beers.

Cheats Chicken Shawarma
The spice mix is not exact.  Experiment and find what you like best. You could use a Baharat blend.

Serves 4
4 Chicken breasts (free-range or organic)
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp.  Paprika
1 tsp. Sumac
1 tsp. Cardamom
1 tsp. Clove
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp. salt
Olive oil

Trim the chicken breasts and cut in half lenghtways. Coat each piece in spices.  Leave overnight, marinating in the fridge.  Next day, drizzle lightly with olive oil and either barbecue or grill over a high heat.  You can also try roasting the chicken in a very hot oven.  It should only take ten minutes or so to cook as the pieces are quite thin.  Remove from the heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.  Cut into strips on a wooden chopping board.  Serve with plenty of chilli sauce, shredded lettuce, hummus and salad.


  1. I loooove Arabic flatbreads, they are sooo much better and more versatile than pitta's which tend to break when you stuff. Plus the flatbreads have an excellent yeasty flavour which works well with grilled meats.

  2. Looks absolutely delicious and reminds me of my holiday in Egypt last year.

  3. Wow! Perfect for any time as it looks so delicious! I would love to be able to eat it now!

    Thanks for taking part in this month's Sweet Heat Challenge : )


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