- Type: Meat Roll
- Place of Origin: Ottoman Empire
- Region or State: Turkey, Levant, Middle East, Indian subcontinent
- Main Ingredients: Meat (lamb, chicken, mutton, turkey, beef), pita or wrap bread, shredded vegetables, pickles, and assorted condiments
A mouthwatering, juice rendering, and delicious dish that renders all the other wrap dishes look like newbies, Shawarma is all things good, right from the succulent and spicy and charred meat, and layered with grilled lettuce, tomatoes, onions, with a drizzle of garlic sauce, and wrapped in a fluffy pita bread. It is a delectable and famous Levantine dish comprising meat cut into shreds from a thick stack of meat slices, that are put into a vertical skewer and rotated continuously on a rotisserie to roast. Traditionally, a Shawarma was made with beef or mutton, nowadays, Chicken Shawarma, Turkey Shawarma, or Veal Shawarma are also available. Though widely popular around the world, Shawarma is immensely popular as a street food in the Middle East, including, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Levant, Russia, and Caucasus.
Shawarma is derived from the Arabic Turkish word ‘cevirme’ which means ‘turning’ that refers to the rotating rotisserie in which the meat is cooked. This technique of grilling meat in vertical manner first appeared in the 19th-century in Ottoman Empire, now Turkey, in the form of doner kebab. Shawarma was then developed in the early 20th-century, inspired by the modern Mexican dish called Tacos al Pastor, when it was brought there by the Lebanese immigrants. In restaurant, Shawarma is usually prepared in the traditional style, but it can also be made at home by grilling or cooking the spiced marinated meat in the pan or oven and then wrap this up in street style way to have a blast of flavors in the mouth.
Making of Shawarma
Traditionally, Shawarma is made by thick cuts of meat, usually beef, which is seasoned and marinated. The thick slices of meat are then stacked into a skewer of about 20 inches high, which is then put vertically over a gas-fired heating element and a spinning motor helps it rotate and cook from all sides. As the outer layer gets cooked and roasted, shavings are cut off from the rotating stack through a blunt knife when its time to serve.
Shawarma is served in a wrap made of pita bread or fermented dough bread. To make the wrap, pita bread or wrap bread is first layered with some spicy green chutney, garlic sauce, or mayonnaise, topped with the shredded meat, and then layered with pickled and grilled onions and vegies such as capsicum, cabbage, and tomatoes. The bread is then folded in a neat wrap and sealed with a paper napkin.
To make at home, marinate the boneless meat in a mixture of cumin powder, paprika, garlic powder, coriander powder and leaves, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, Aleppo peppers, cinnamon, and ground cloves. After marinating for 2 hours, cook in an oven or pan and then slice thinly. Get pita bread from the store or make a fermented dough bread. Spread some chutney or sauce of your liking along with grilled veggies and then chicken. Serve hot and enjoy.
One serving of Chicken Shawarma (250g) gives about 450 calories, out of which carbohydrates comprises 46 percent calories, protein comprises of 22 percent calories, and fat gives about 31 percent calories.
Droolworthy and bursting with bold flavors, Shawarma is a succulent and juicy wrap engulfing inside it a harmonious blend of charred meat, spicy sauces, and grilled veggies, that will tingle your senses in a pleasurable manner.
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