Tag Archives: chicken shawarma

Fun with Food: Chicken Shawarma

NanaBread's Chicken Shawarma

I’ve had an itch to try new recipes lately. Exciting new recipes. Exotic new recipes. Inspired by our impending vacation plans, I decided to tackle something from far away lands – chicken shawarma. Have I ever tried it? No, I have not. But that’s the beauty of trying new things. Sometimes you just have to crawl out of your comfort zone.

Enter the TasteSpotting website. Ever seen it? It’s a visual feast, for sure, but it’s more than that. It’s a network of bloggers who post their recipes for the world to see and enjoy. It’s where I found this gorgeous recipe for Chicken Shawarma by kurryleaves. Her gorgeous photo on TasteSpotting peaked my interest, but her post convinced me to give it a try. It convinced me hard.

Now fast forward to our trip on Monday to our local Mediterranean grocer. If you remember, I mentioned it in my rambling Dr Pepper-induced rant about my new bargain designer purse from Macy’s. (Do I owe you an apology if you read that one? I feel like I might.) Anyway, The Complete Package and I dropped in for lunch and while we were there I browsed the grocery selection. What else is a girl to do while waiting for her gyro with extra feta and hot sauce? While browsing, I found garbanzos to make hummus with, the most fabulous bag of warm pita bread I’ve ever seen in my entire life, a small block of my beloved haloumi cheese, and the new love of my life – pasteurized kefir cheese. Have you seen this stuff? Have mercy – I’m in love. Big love. It’s like slightly soft, slightly salty cream cheese that melts in your mouth. It’s like Greek yogurt on steroids. It’s what my new Syrian buddy at the Mediterranean market recommended. My new bestest kefir eating buddy. We’re tight now.

Oh, kefir cheese... where have you been all my life?

So, I tell The Complete Package that I’ll be branching out and making him chicken shawarma with all my market goodies, and you know what he ordered for lunch? A chicken shawarma. Go figure. I don’t know what he was thinking, but I know what I was. I was thinking “great, now I can be judged for a recipe I’ve never made against a Syrian kefir-eating shawarma guru.” A lesser woman would have thrown a little hissy fit and put the pita back on the shelf, but not me. I’m tenacious. I love a challenge. And at the time, I was hopped up on Dr Pepper. (Again…I apologize.)

So here’s what I done did. Basically, I used kurryleaves’ recipe for the chicken marinade, the toppings and the method, then went out on my own for the tahini and tzatziki. So let’s take a look at how it all went down. Ready, Freddy?

First, I bought a package of chicken breast tenders. I brought them home, removed that crazy tendon that runs down the middle, and threw them in a gallon Ziploc bag with the marinade. I should clarify that I used kurryleave’s marinade as a guideline. For instance, I left out cumin (yuck), substituted my favorite yellow curry powder for the turmeric, and I added cayenne pepper (because I was unsure of what pepper powder might be). It smelled so good! The chicken has to marinate in the fridge overnight, so start this one early.

Next, I made a batch of my favorite lemon & garlic hummus. I made about a quart so we could eat it as a side dish with the extra pita bread and to use in place of the tahini sauce on the sandwiches.

After the hummus was in the fridge, I mixed up a batch of tzatziki to dress the sandwiches with. I made my own version based on a few I found at Tasty Kitchen, my favorite recipe source. Since I despise dill (except for dill pickles), I used flat-leaf Italian parsley. So in all, it was my new kefir cheese (or you could use Greek yogurt), parsley, finely minced onion, grated cucumber (pressed into paper towels to remove any liquid), salt, lemon juice and a splash of red wine vinegar. Oh, I also threw in a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Using the kefir or yogurt as a base, you add the minced onion, grated cucumber and parsley (or dill) – then add the lemon juice, red wine vinegar and salt to your own taste. This is really good stuff, especially if you’re a Greek yogurt and cucumber lover. I made extra of this, too, so we could really slather it on and eat the leftovers with pita bread. Tzatziki is great as a dip, too.

Pita bread, hummus and tzatziki - the shawarma trinity

Last but not least, you’ll want to slice up a tomato, a little bit of purple onion, some cucumber and a little lettuce. Set it aside until you’re ready to assemble your shawarmas.

In a hot non-stick skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of canola oil. Fry your marinated chicken tenders until they are well done, turning once, and place them on a cutting board or plate to cool for a few minutes. When ready, chop or slice your chicken into bite-size pieces.

That colorful marinade is pure flavor, baby.

Now for the fun part – shawarma assembly. If you’re using a large, thin middle-eastern style pita, lay it out flat. If you’re using the smallish ones you find in most grocery stores, cut the top edge off and open it up. Give the inside of your pita a schmear of hummus. Top with chicken, then spoon on some tzatziki sauce. If you want, you can give it a shot of hot sauce or some sriracha chili sauce. That’s what I’ll be doing. Top with your choice of cucumber, tomato, purple onion and lettuce, then carefully roll up your pita and dig in. The verdict: loved it! I loved making all the different components. Loved that gorgeous marinade. Loved the tzatziki. Loved it all. I’ll definitely be making this again. It’s a keeper.

We're gonna shawarma all up in this joint.

One last warning. Make sure you have napkins or paper towels close by and push your sleeves up. This sandwich may get messy. Serve it with a side of hummus and tzatziki with carrot sticks or a nice Greek salad. I’d recommend an ice-cold Dr Pepper, too, but that’s where I tend to get in trouble.

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My deal of the week OR How I bought a great purse so cheap it felt like I stole it OR God bless Macy’s. You pick.

I went to Macy’s last Thursday to find some shoes. Comfortable walking shoes, that’s what I was looking for. Something to wear on vacation when you’re planning to walk for hours on end. Something I could slip on and off easily so I wouldn’t get cursed at in the security line at the airport. You know what I mean. You’ve been there. If you didn’t curse out loud, you totally did it in your head. Hopefully. So anyway, I walked into Macy’s with my mind set on walking shoes that didn’t look like something a nurse would wear for long shift work and I got lucky. I found a pair I liked that fit. Sounds easy, but really it’s not for me. You see, I wear a size 10 double narrow. Yeah, wrap your head around that for a second. Not one to just buy one thing and walk out when I’m all alone with time to kill, I handed my super cute, uber comfortable vacation shoes to the cashier and had her hold them while I perused the purse department.

Now I may or may not have mentioned that I have a handbag addiction, which is funny because I usually carry a small purse at all times. The same small, cross-body bag… all the time. It’s a Baggallini. I have their Everyday Bag in tan with a light blue lining, and it’s awesome. But as I was saying, I still find myself drawn to purses. Is it a genetic thing? I wonder. Are girls programmed to love purses? Am I betraying my gender by even asking that question? If it’s not genetic, then it is most likely a virus I picked up – probably from touching a shopping cart at the grocery store. PS – thank you, Store Managers, for putting sanitizing wipes next to the grocery carts. I love you for that. I really do.

But I digress. Here is my find of the week from Macy’s:

It's actually a nice olive green. I promise.

It’s big. It’s a great shade of olive green, and it has all kinds of fabulous pockets and zippered hidey holes. The color in this photo washed out. I tried to fix it so it would look more realistic, but it just made the ivory door in the background look orange. Here’s a photo of the back of the purse, for purse-o-files:

The back side. Ha! I said backside.

The color is a little more true-to-life in this photo, but it’s still a little washed out. I probably should have taken it outside to photograph it, but that would just make my neighbors wonder why I was standing on my lawn snapping pics of a purse. Most of them don’t know I blog, and I like that. Makes me feel stealthy. Mysterious. Anonymous. I could say anything about them, and they wouldn’t know it was me. But I wouldn’t, because I have a hard and fast rule that I never put anyone’s photo or real name in my blog without their permission. Sometimes, it’s just hard being good.

Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Wow. She really needs to put down the Dr Pepper” and I would but I already finished it and threw the can in the recycling bin. It was tasty. I had it with a gyro combination plate at my local Mediterranean grocer today at lunch. Drank it straight out of the can with a straw, because I’m that girl who thanks store managers for putting sanitizing wipes next to shopping carts. I also sourced some garbanzos, haloumi cheese, pita bread and some Syrian yogurt, but I’ll save that for another post. Here’s a hint: it starts with chicken and ends with shawarma. I know, right?!

But let’s wrap up this purse story first, shall we? I saw it hanging in the purse department at Macy’s and I instantly loved it. One look at the price tag, and I knew it could be mine. Originally priced at $85, it had been marked down to $45, and then down to $25. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I see an $85 designer purse (even if I’ve never heard of Giani Bernini) marked down to $25, I’m thinking “I could do this.” I walked away once and thought it over as I browsed, but then circled back like a shark and grabbed it. I had to. The power of Macy’s compelled me. C’mon… just look at how much space is in this bag!

This purse is gonna make me lose my mind... up in here, up in here

So jump ahead now to me at the cash register, reclaiming my cute walking shoes and handing over my new olive green purse for payment. Cue the angel music, because when she rang up the purse, it came up as $20. That’s right… my sale purse was on sale! My $25 dollar formerly $85 dollar purse was on sale for 20% off. Shut the front door! All I can say is “Thank you, God in heaven for Macy’s clearance sales.” Well, that and “And I’ll try to be good from now on” because it never hurts to throw that in. Notice I said try. My momma didn’t raise no fool.

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Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts