Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chicken Shawarma

Last week, Jeffrey and I took a road trip to San Francisco. It was amazing, and went by way too fast. On the way, we stopped in San Luis Obispo to eat at The Natural Cafe and stay the night in a hotel. We made it to San Francisco the next afternoon, and had such a blast hanging out with family and friends. We ate at a ton of great places, but of course, I took no pictures. We did go to a place called Weird Fish twice during our stay. They offered lots of fish dishes and also vegan fish (seitan) and chips, as well as a "fish" (seitan) sandwich. Delicious. We also went to Herbivore, before a night of especially drunken debauchery, where I had a giant bowl of curry noodle soup, Jeffrey's sister Amanda had a tempeh sandwich on foccacia, and Jeffrey had the delectable chicken shawarma, which he of course asked me to repeat at home immediately. I did some research on the chicken part to see if there was something other than seitan that I could use, but with no luck. A last minute decision included frying strips of Morningstar Farms chicken strips until they were just tender, letting them cool, marinating them, then frying again until crisp and delicious.

I also finally learned how to make real hummus, as opposed to the chickpea mash that I have been making for years. The secret, I learned, was to combine the lemon juice and tahini until it becomes a frothy cream, then adding the chickpeas, one handful at a time, and blending until smooth and delicious. I should mention, that a decent blender is required for this process. Otherwise, you will be like me, combining said lemon juice and tahini in a crappy blender, pulsing on low and adding water like mad. But anyway, just be careful if you have a cheap blender and not something like a VitaMix, over which I covet daily.

Chicken Shawarma
one bag of Morningstar Farms chicken strips
4 whole wheat pitas
one cucumber, sliced
2 pickles, sliced
2 C shredded lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
1 recipe chicken marinade (follows)
2 c hummus, homemade or storebought

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tbl lemon juice
3 tbl olive oil
1 tsp curry powder

Cook the chicken strips until just warm and tender. Coat with the marinade and let sit for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, chop cucumbers, pickles, tomato and prepare hummus if making from scratch. Also, shred lettuce if not using the pre-shredded kind.

Fry the chicken on a skillet in olive oil until brown and crispy. Set aside. Warm each pita briefly on the same skillet. To assemble, spread 1/2 C hummus on a pita, followed by lettuce, cucumber, pickle , tomato and chicken. Fold with care, by beginning to wrap the pita from the bottom in the shape of a cone. Follow with aluminum foil and wrap the pita about halfway. Serve hot.


  1. Ooh, I just learned something! I've always wondered how Middle Eastern restaurants get their hummus so creamy. Now I know! Thanks. I'm trying this trick next time.

  2. WOW! Yummmy! I make shawarmas all the time with portabello mushrooms but I've been planning on using TVP or seitan soon. Unfortunately we don't get morningstar chicken strips or anything remotely like them here in Saudi Arabia. Ah well! Your photo looks really beautiful!

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