Many global cuisines would like to boast bragging rights to shawarma, beloved across the Middle East and around the world. Israelis have a special place in our hearts for shawarma - we have adopted it and made it our own, smothering it in non-dairy tahini rather than a yogurt , and adding our own special salads and toppings. In Israel, we often eat shawarma made from chicken or turkey, since much of the flavor comes from the wonderful spices, rather than the meat itself. This ‘street food’ is actually very simple to make in your home kitchen, and will take you back to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Israeli markets and street stalls. Our version is a spin on shawarma that is easily cooked without a spit, and with a few extra vegetables to boot.
1 ½ lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 medium-sized white onions, thinly sliced
½ red pepper, sliced
½ yellow pepper, sliced
4 tbsp. baharat spice (cloves, coriander seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ cup tahini
½ cup chopped parsley
½ tbsp turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix tomatoes, onions, and peppers with 2 tablespoons of baharat spice mixture, turmeric, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to baking sheet.
Roast vegetables in oven for a minimum of 10 minutes and until the edges blacken slightly (will look charred as if on the grill).
While the vegetables are roasting, slice chicken thighs and mix in a bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons of baharat , 4 tbsp. olive oil, and salt and pepper.
Drizzle a grill pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil and cook on medium-high heat. Wait for the oil to start smoking, then add the seasoned chicken thighs in small batches, cooking a few minutes on each side until cooked through. Add the roasted vegetables and mix together with chicken.
Once cooked, move to a serving plate and drizzle with tahini and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Photo credit: NYT Food