Chicken Shawarma Recipe

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Chicken Shawarma

My shawarma, which is tenderized and given a boost of flavor with a wonderful marinade, is based on a recipe by Sam Sifton in The New York Times. Go any direction you like with the sauce; mine is a nice balance of cool yogurt and cayenne heat. Serve the shawarma over rice; I love cinnamon-scented vermicelli rice for this. The recipe for the rice is in the Rose Water & Orange Blossoms cookbook….

Serves: 6 | Recipe by: Maureen Abood


For the shawarma:Juice of 2 lemons
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup yogurt (any fat percentage)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sumac
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the sauce:1 cup whole-milk yogurt, chilled
Pinch kosher salt
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Olives, cucumbers, pickled turnips, and flatbread or pita bread, for serving


1. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, yogurt, garlic, salt, sumac, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Add the chicken, cover, and marinate for at least one hour and not more than one day.

2. Heat the oven to 500°F with a rack positioned in the upper third of the oven. Line a sheet pan with parchment or non-stick foil.

3. Toss the red onion with the chicken in the marinade, then place the chicken and onion evenly on the sheet pan, discarding the marinade. Roast for about 30 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through cooking, until the chicken is nicely crisped around the edges and golden brown. Broil for a few minutes to get the chicken caramelized, if needed.

4. Immediately slice the chicken into ¼-inch strips, then lay them over a bed of rice.

5. Make a quick yogurt sauce by whisking the yogurt with cayenne and salt. Adjust seasonings to taste. Drizzle the sauce over the shawarma, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve the shawarma hot, with the roasted onions, olives, pickles, cucumbers, and bread on the side.

Shawarma Sauce

Chicken Shawarma

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