Shawarma (شاورما) The Turning Meat : Chicken Shawarma Recipe


Shawarma is made from marinated meat that has been slow roasted on a vertical spit for many hours – the meat can be anything from lamb, beef or chicken to goat, turkey or a combination of any of these. Once cooked, the meat is carved off in thin, wide strips and stuffed inside a flatbread along with a variety of vegetables, such as lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, pickles and parsley. Condiments can range from garlic yoghurt to hummus to chilli and pickled mango sauce, and while the type of bread used will vary depending upon where you are, pita, lavash and taboon are most popular.

It can be served on a plate (generally with accompaniments), or as a sandwich or wrap. Shawarma is usually eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, and amba.


Most will agree that the secret to shawarma’s taste lies in the way the meat is cooked and much credit must go to the chefs of the Ottoman Empire (1299 – 1923) who were among the first to see the benefit of roasting meat vertically. They noticed that horizontal roasting robbed the meat of all of its delicious fat as it simply dripped into the fire; worse still, as it did so it caused the flames to rise, scorching the outside of the meat as a result. Vertical roasting means that the meat is bathed in its own fat as it cooks, making it soft, tender and delicious, and keeping the flames under control allows the meat to be roasted nice and slowly, cooking it to perfection.

Spice up your shawarma by adding spices

Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Servings: 8 people

Cooking Time: 50mins

Preparation Time: 10mins

Total Time: 1hr

Difficulty Level: Medium


8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup malt vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp all spice

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For plating:

  • 4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 4 cups shredded lettuce
  • 8 pita bread rounds

Not able to find the ingredients ? Find it here

How to Make

  1. In a glass baking dish, mix together the malt vinegar, 1/4 cup yogurt, vegetable oil, mixed spice, cardamom, salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken thighs into the mixture and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, 1/4 cup yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, taste, and adjust flavors if desired. Cover and refrigerate.
  6. Cover the chicken and bake in the marinade for 30 minutes, turning once.
  7. Uncover, and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is browned and cooked through.
  8. Remove from the dish, and cut into slices.
  9. Place sliced chicken, tomato, onion, and lettuce onto pita breads.
  10. Roll up, and top with tahini sauce.


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