Shawarma-Spiced Chicken with Peppers and Lemon-Herb Yogurt Sauce
If you have the ability to make real-deal shawarma at your house, invite me over ASAP.
Shawarma isn't something one just whips up at home. This Middle Eastern street food is stacked on a vertical rotisserie spit, gyro-style. And it's cooked with lots of fat and spices — spinning and spinning for, like, basically days.
(Oh, and if any vertical spit companies are reading this, I wish I had a vertical spit in my house. Just saying.)
Anyway, here we all are, vertical spit-less and craving shawarma because I can't shut up about it. Here's what to do instead: buy some chicken, open your spice drawer and make this.
P.S. My friend Leigh texted me after she made this recipe to tell me that her 5-year-old Jack called it "dessert chicken," because it was so good. And then my heart melted out of my body and now I'm dead.
Shawarma-Spiced Chicken with Peppers & Lemon-Herb Yogurt Sauce
paleo, whole30, gluten-free | serves 3-4
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- olive oil
- 2 red and/or yellow bell peppers, sliced
- optional: a sprinkle of sumac*
Lemon-Herb Yogurt Sauce Ingredients
- 1-2 cups Greek yogurt
- zest from one lemon
- juice from 1/4 of the lemon
- a bit of chopped cilantro
- a bit of chopped green onion
- Place your chicken breasts between pieces of saran wrap and pound them flat (~1.5-inches thick). I don't have a meat mallet, so I used the bottom of a heavy olive oil bottle. It's both classy and risky.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Mix up the spices and sprinkle them all over the chicken, rub it in, wash your hands, etc.
- Heat some olive oil in a large pan on medium-high. Once it's hot, carefully set the chicken in there (use two pans if they don't fit in one).
- Cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip and add the red peppers to the pan. Cook for another ~5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. The peppers will be hot, but not limp.
- While the chicken is cooking, mix up the yogurt sauce.
- Serve it up. Sprinkle on some sumac and eat.
- Sumac, if you're unaware, is a really amazing red seasoning that tastes bright and almost lemony. You can find it at Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. I put it on everything, but it is especially good on Iranian kebab.
- This would be great with some cauliflower rice, methinks. Or fries. All shawarma should be served with fries.
- As an alternative to the yogurt sauce if you're avoiding dairy, you could also blend some herbs and lemon with mayo for an aioli.