As part of my schooling, I participated in several cultural sensitivity programs. Food and diet are a huge part of every culture, so it was important to try to understand different cultural groups before trying to treat them. However, I think the thing I learned most from these programs was how culturally insensitive we all are, on purpose and completely on accident.
Ethnic-inspired recipes on this site are an area where I verge on being culturally insensitive. I hesitate to even use the traditional name for dishes, since I know that I have made changes to each dish. So please be aware, dishes on my site are often inspired by flavors from around the globe. But I don’t feel restricted from adding my own personal flair to dishes.
Chicken shawarmas are no exception. I first ate shawarma in London and fell in love. Juicy meat, chewy bread, an assortment of vegetables I didn’t recognize, and some sort of sauce that leaked out purple on my hands came together in a beautiful harmony. I’ve tried a few at a variety of restaurants since, but none have lived up to the one in my memory. This recipe is more of an homage than trying to recreate what I had in London. But it makes for a delicious, hearty dinner. Enjoy!
Chicken Shawarma (Serves 4)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
4 whole grain pitas or flatbreads
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ recipe of roasted red pepper hummus
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
12 tomato slices
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1. Combine lemon juice, curry powder, oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and cloves in a large, resealable plastic bag. Add chicken. Toss to coat. Allow to marinate for at least an hour, up to 24 in the fridge.
2. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Once chicken is done, lightly grill pitas until just warmed through.
3. Combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, cucumber, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until combined.
4. To serve, spread about 1 tablespoon of hummus on flatbread. Top with chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion, and yogurt sauce.
Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):
Protein: 43 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 87 mg
Carbohydrates: 47 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 816 mg
Recipe Notes: You could marinate and grill the chicken breasts whole, and then slice when ready to serve. They will just take longer to cook that way. I was too lazy to make or buy pitas when I took this picture. This was some leftover naan bread I warmed up from the freezer. Not traditional in any way, but a decent substitute. You will not use all of the yogurt sauce. But it is delicious on salads, sandwiches, etc.
Source: adapted from Cooking Light