Chicken or Tofu Shawarma
Updated: May 3
The art of shawarma-ing some meat is an amazing gift to the cooking world. I tried this method with tofu, and, honestly, it was pretty darn tasty. I recommend you try it. Of course, I am giving you the chicken option, too, below.
We have tried this using the broiler and it was good. If you have the option, I recommend you try it on the grill, too. The grill adds a smoky flavor that the broiler just can't achieve. A grill will probably get you the closest to that genuine flavor, aside from building your own vertical rotisserie oven to create the genuine shawarma-effect.
Highly recommend adding hummus to the final plate: find my favorite recipe here.
Chicken or Tofu Shawarma
Yield: 6 servings
2 T ground cumin
2 T ground coriander
1 T sweet paprika
1/2 tsp harissa
2 tsp cinnamon
1 T salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 T olive oil
2 T + 2 T tahini
2 tsp grated lemon zest, plus 4 T + 1 T lemon juice
2 kg bone-in chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or a mix thereof OR 2 boxes extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slabs
2 medium red onions, halved and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, fresh mint leaves, or parsley, or a combination of the any of the three, coarsely chopped
For serving: hummus
In a large bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, paprika, harissa, cinnamon, 1T salt, and 1 T black pepper. Measure 1 teaspoon of the mix into a medium bowl; set aside. Pour the remaining spice mix into a ziploc bag, adding 1/2 cup oil, 2 tablespoon of tahini and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Squish the bag well to combine, and then add the chicken (or tofu, if using) and onion slices, sealing the bag well, and squishing to coat the meat and onions with the seasoning. Set aside to marinade at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, preheat the broiler.
Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, coated with cooking spray. Meanwhile, to the reserved spice mix, add the yogurt, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the remaining 2 tablespoons tahini, the lemon zest, the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of mint or herbs of choice. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Stir, then set aside until ready to serve.
Transfer the chicken-onion (or tofu) mixture, along with its marinade, to the prepared baking sheet, then distribute in an even layer. Broil until the chicken is lightly charred on both sides, 18 to 20 minutes, flipping the pieces once about halfway through. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the remaining mint/herb mixture and toss to combine.
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve with the yogurt-tahini sauce.