Chicken Shawarma

This chicken shawarma recipe from Chef Richard Blais has quickly become a favorite lunch-time dish for us. It takes absolutely no time to make and uses ingredients I often have on hand. The chicken is fantastic, thanks to a Mediterranean-inspired rub, and it’s very tender (chicken thighs are another favorite in our house). And the yogurt sauce is fantastic, cooling and slightly sour. All wrapped in a warm pita. This chicken shawarma gives our local gyro joint a run for it’s money!
Chicken ShawarmaYou could substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts when making chicken shawarma, but I guarantee that the end result won’t be as good. Thighs have more fat and more flavorful. And they’re super tender. If you do use breasts do not overcook them or they’ll quickly become tough.

Also try my grilled meatball gyros.

Chicken Shawarma

Course Main
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Based on a recipe from Richard Blais

Ingredients

For the chicken marinade

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 clove garlic minced

For the pitas

  • 6 pitas halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

For the chicken marinade

  • In a bowl, whisk together the oil, cumin, paprika, allspice, turmeric, garlic powder and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the chicken thighs, turning to coat. Set aside.
  • Fire up grill for direct and indirect cooking.
  • Shake off any excess marinade from the chicken and place the thighs onto the grill over direct heat. Note that the marinade contains oil which might cause flare-ups. If you do encounter a flare-up simply move the chicken to indirect heat until it stops.
  • Cook chicken until lightly charred and the internal temperature reaches 175 F.
  • Transfer chicken to platter. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.

For the yogurt sauce

  • Whisk together the yogurt, lime and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the pitas

  • Slice chicken into strips and divide between the pitas.
  • Add chopped mint and cilantro and the yogurt sauce.

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Review: Richard Blais’ So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours

Review: Richard Blais' So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to YoursIt seemed like forever that I was on the library waiting list to get Richard Blais’ new cookbook, So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours. I waited and waited for the email that said the book was finally available for downloading to my Kindle or reading on my PC’s Kindle Reader.

I like Chef Blais’s style. I’ve seen him on several cooking competition shows on TV. He is always cooking dishes that look fantastic and often use techniques (in particular, liquid nitrogen) that I have no experience with.

This book isn’t about restaurant dishes. It’s about dishes Chef Blais makes at home. Most of the recipes have a short list of ingredients and also a short list of instructions. Some are recipes you may have seen before, executed perfectly. Like BBQ shrimp. Nothing fancy, but good eats, and one of my favorite dishes of all time. Now, there are a few different recipes, that’s for sure (the barbecued lamb’s head carnitas with masa comes to mind) . And there are a few that have ingredients that might be hard to find if you aren’t near a good Asian market (Amazon to the rescue!). As Chef Blais says, he’s curious about techniques, equipment and ingredients. I share that curiosity, although certainly not on the level that he does. The beauty of food and cooking, for me, is that every day you wake up you can do something new, something different. Or you can do something old and familiar. Or both.

The commentary throughout the book is light, witty, funny and insightful. You don’t have to wade thru two pages of a story to get to the recipes, either. Not that I don’t appreciate a good story now and then. This isn’t that kind of book. It’s full of dishes Chef Blais makes during his time off. You feel like you’re there at his house with him and his family on a Saturday, getting ready to make a few Juicy Lucy burgers, and for desert, homemade banana splits (an absolutely amazing recipe, everything homemade).

I’ve already made an extensive list of the dishes I will be making from the book, beginning with chicken shawarma (Update: made this last weekend and it was fantastic!). Next up, a steak coated in blue cheese to mimic dry aging, then cooked in a hot skillet to onion rings. Yes, onion rings. Chef Blais takes his onion ring batter and places it into a whip cream canister. Dispensing the air-injected batter produces a super-light coating. What a brilliant idea. Brilliant. Another is the sweet-and-sour ham hocks with mustard greens. I recently smoked my own shanks (larger than hocks, but I substitute them for hocks all of the time) and cannot wait to make Chef Blais’s recipe.

The photos in So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours are amazing. Now, me, I’m a big fan of food porn so I could’ve gone for a few more pictures, but the truth is you can’t eat pictures. What pictures there are are truly drool-worthy.

'Mater Rater
For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.