Post # 45 Shawarma Buddy!

September 12, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 45 Shawarma Buddy!

Before I start today’s post, I’d like to observe a moment of silence for the deceased and injured in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya and in Cairo.

Okay, part of the reason I wanted to do that is I spent a great deal of time in that area of the world.  It’s been about five years since I was there, but I still remembrer vividly the experiences and the feelings and the foods.  One place I was at introduced me to a great street food called a shawarma.  It was in Tunisia, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Shawarma refers to the meat used in the sandwich or wrap.  The meat can be pretty much anything.  It’s layered on a vertical spit which rotates.  A heat source is placed on one side of the spit.  This can be an open fire, but is most typically a vertical heating element powered by either gas or electricity.  As the meat cooks, the juices run down the stack, basting the meats below.  The fats and juices are collected in a small tray at the bottom.  As each sandwich is made, the meat is sliced thinly and dipped into the tray of juices for extra flavor.  The meat can be anything but is typically either a beef/lamb combo, or chicken.

Sometimes aromatics such as onion, peppers, and garlic are layered with the meats to add flavor to the final product.

Shawarma can be served in many different ways.  It can be sliced onto a platter and served with a salad which is one of my favorite ways.  It can be served as slices on folded pita bread with tomatoes and onion and cucumbers and yogurt which is one of my favorite ways.  It can be served sliced onto thin flatbread with onions, tomatoes, hummus, tabbouleh, and cucumber yogurt which is one of my favorite ways.  Actually, pretty much anyway you serve it is one of my favorite ways.  It’s really good stuff.






I’m a very bad vegetarian.  My favorite type of shawarma is the beef/lamb combo.  It love the tender, juicy, and spicy flavor.  It’s also known at doner kebab and as the Greek gyro.  Actually, it was as a gyro that I first encountered this dish.  However it’s called, the process is still the same.  Meat stacked on a turning spit and flamed to cook.

I’ve never come across a good home version of this dish that didn’t require the typical vertical spit, but in experimenting I’ve found that a passable version can be made by slicing beef or chicken very thinly and marinating overnight in a combination of spices and yogurt.  The spices can include pretty much any that you like, but should include  things like garlic, onion, cayenne, mace, ginger, lemon juice, and pepper.  You can make it as aromatic or non as you like.  Then, once it’s marinated, grill it quickly so that it’s seared and completely cooked.  Serve with a salad or as a sandwich with chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumber, yogurt, and/or hummus.

When I was in  Tunisia, my coworker and I found the street food as a wrap and were so entranced by the flavors and simplicty, that we worked out a deal with the vendor and treated the entire office staff we were working with to a lunch of shawarmas.  It was great stuff!


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