If you've ever ordered beef or chicken shawarma at a Middle Eastern restaurant, it's probably one of the meals that takes you back to that location again and again. Because of the way it's cooked, it's challenging to prepare homemade shawarma. But our homemade chicken shawarma wraps recipe will at least keep you satisfied in between restaurant visits.
Ingredients for the Wrap
Start with 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs. In addition to the chicken, you'll need ingredients for the marinade and a delicious Greek yogurt dressing.
Ingredients for the Marinade
- 2 -3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Ingredients for the Greek Yogurt Dressing
This dressing for homemade chicken shawarma wraps is optional, but if you love the taste of Greek yogurt, you'll be glad you took the time to make this.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Once you cook the shawarma and top it with a delicious Greek yogurt dressing, you still need the crowning touch — the wrap. Traditionally, shawarma uses a bread wrap, but in this recipe, we'll be using lettuce to wrap our meal. For this, you'll need:
- Bibb or Romaine lettuce leaves
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced cucumbers
- In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, spices, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Whisk to combine.
- Next, place the chicken thighs into a large, sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade mixture on top. Seal the bag. Then, gently turn to thoroughly coat the chicken. Place the bag in the refrigerator for several hours. You can leave it overnight to give the marinade more time to flavor the chicken thighs.
- Begin preparing the Greek yogurt dressing. Combine all ingredients in a glass or other non-reactive bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Olive oil can burn quickly, so keep an eye on the heat. Remove the chicken from the bag. Add the chicken to the hot skillet and brown on each side — about 2 minutes per side. Season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired.
DISCARD the remaining marinade!
- Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through — about 6 to 7 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat. Allow to cool for several minutes.
- Slice the chicken and arrange it on the lettuce leaves. Top with tomatoes and cucumbers. Drizzle with Greek yogurt dressing. Now, grab a lettuce wrap with your chicken, garnish, and dressing inside.
Sink your teeth into your delicious homemade chicken shawarma wraps. Pair it with your favorite wine or beverage.
Did You Know?
A Taco by Any Other Name?
In some parts of the world, shawarma is known as a Middle Eastern taco. Why? It's considered a delicacy, and it's one of the most popular street foods. There is much debate over the origins of shawarma, but there is general agreement that it was first eaten in the Middle East, probably Turkey. This style of cooking food is known by many names. In Greece, it's called "gyros." Armenians refer to it as "tarna." Later, it was taken to Mexico, where it became "tacos al pastor."
By any name, shawarma is a wrap filled with succulent, flavor-filled meat, chicken, turkey, or lamb. That filling is placed on a turning spit and grilled for hours.
When you bite into shawarma grilled on a spit, know that centuries of tradition and went into that meal.
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to let us know how it turned out in the comments below.
Carol Hidalgo loves making memories with her children and 11 grandkids. And she loves exploring foods from around the world with family and friends. She also believes that aprons are a fun part of building and sharing memories with the people we love. Carol infuses her love for family, friends, and fun times into the making of each Specialty Aprons and More apron. Learn more about her here.