Monday, June 2, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Chicken Shawarma with Pita Bread & Toum

Secret Recipe Club
For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the amazing blog of a nice lady named Sawsan who lives in Jordan.  Her blog is called Chef in Disguise and has so many incredible looking recipes!  I had a heck of a time choosing one because food from that region of the world is basically my favorite.  When I saw her recipe for chicken shawarma, I decided to go full out and make that along with her pita bread and toum (creamy garlic sauce) recipes.  This was my first time making any of these things and also the first time I'd had chicken shawarma or toum.

For the purposes of this post, I'm just focusing on the chicken shawarma recipe, but you can find her pita bread here and toum here.  I made the latter two exactly according to her recipes and they turned out great!  The bread was soft and tender, and formed pockets like it was supposed to (something I worried about a bit!), and the toum was extremely creamy, lemony, and garlicky.  They definitely get my recommendation.

The chicken shawarma was very good, too.  It's something I've always wanted to try and ended up being quite unique!  I've never tasted anything with this specific combination of ingredients, but cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom are among my favorite spices and this recipe has all three!  Sadly I did not have the mastic so had to do without, but I will definitely try to get some next time I'm in Seattle and will make this recipe again with it.  The flavors came together quite nicely even without the mastic, though, and my husband and I both are looking forward to the leftovers and making it again another time.  I'm so glad I was assigned Sawsan's blog because these three specific recipes are probably not ones I would have come across otherwise.

Below is my version of Sawsan's recipe.  There were a couple of things I was a little unclear about in the main recipe, so I did it how I thought she intended, but I followed her recipe pretty closely.

Chicken Shawarma

8 oz plain yogurt
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp mastic (I did not have this)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground bay leaf (I put a whole bayleaf in with the marinade)
1/8 tsp nutmeg

3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into strips (I used breasts)
2 Tbsp
1 onion, halved and sliced
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

pita bread
sliced pickles
toum or tahini
french fries

Mix together marinade ingredients.  Add chicken and stir to coat.  Refrigerate several hours or over night.

When you're ready to cook, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high.  Add chicken to skillet with tongs and discard the remaining marinade (some will stick to the chicken).  Saute until chicken is almost cooked through, then push it to one side of the pan and add the onions.  Saute the onions until they soften, about 3-5 minutes, then push them to the side of the pan.  Saute the tomatoes until they begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes more.  Stir everything together and let it simmer for about 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

To serve, open up a pita and spread with some toum or tahini.  Make a line of the chicken shawarma mixture down the center of the pita and add sliced pickes and a few french fries if you'd like.  Roll up the pita and serve with fries on the side.

Yield:  About 4-5 servings

An InLinkz Link-up


  1. Hello Anna :)
    Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog, I am really glad you enjoyed the recipes you tried and want to make them again.

  2. I had chicken shawarma several times when I was in a part of Brazil with a big Lebanese population. It was so good, but I've never tried to make it myself. I'll have to admit I have never even heard of mastic! I don't know where you would go about finding it here in the States. I looked it up on Wikipedia and it sounds interesting, though.

  3. this sounds delicious! i love all those spices too :)

  4. Yum! I love shawarma, and since I started making my own pitas, i'm ruined for store-bought.
    As you know, I made your ziti, and it was lovely :). Thanks!

  5. I love a good chicken shawarma, but i've never tried making it at home. I haven't had some for about a year now, since we moved. These look so good, I know I'll be making these soon. Great job!