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How to Make Shawarma (Arabian Recipe)

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 7

What is it?

Those were the days when healthy eating style was promoted by heroes. Popeye got his strength from spinach, Banana man and bananas, bunny rabbit and carrots have all one theme in common. Now we have avengers and shawarma. To label shwarama as a junk or healthy food I am no judge. But shawarma can be made healthy and of course can be a fast food to. Upto you to warp the shawarma in your style.

 The word is pronounced as ‘shaawarma’ and means 'turning'. The marinated boneless meat is placed on a vertical rotating (turning) skewer, and roasted all day. Then this meat is cut with a circular knife and collected in a plate placed at the bottom. Generally speaking, shawarma refers to the roti/ pita bread rolled with roasted meat in the middle (sandwich or bun are variants). Along with meat some vegetables (onion, tomato, lettuce, bell pepper, parsley, cabbage, carrot) cut into huge strips are added. Pickled chili, cucumber, olive are also normally added with shawarma sauce. This sauce is now easily replaced with mayonnaise as some ingredients’ are not found all over the world. Shawarma more or less look like tortillas.

The Middle East is famous for their aromatic food, full baked goat and huge gigantic kuboos (roti). So this is how the shawarma has evolved. What makes shawarma different from a rolled baked pizza is that shawarma is basically 70% meat, full of spices and its juicy that is why some restaurants place potato chips within the roti so that the juice is absorbed and does not flow out.

Shawarma is a longtime favorite in my family. I had my first shawarma in a Pakistani house and haven’t tasted the like till now. Most Muslim countries are familiar with shawarma and many countries have road side stalls selling steaming tasty shawarma that people flock to buy.

  • (All pictures used with permission)



Preparing the roti (pita bread)

You can always buy these but if you are on a budget diet or want to try this out then here is the recipe.

  • 250 g flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. yeast
  • 50 g margarine
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Warm water as required
  1. Mix the flour and the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Then add the butter and eggs and mix.
  3. Add the milk and enough water and make soft dough.
  4. Cover with a cloth and let it rise for 1 hour. (If the roti is fat, it will break when we try to wrap it around the chicken)
  5. Make small balls and roll out thin roti.
  6. Heat later once all the other fillings are ready for the shawarma.


Preparing the meat


Preparing the meat

  • 500 g boneless chicken cubes (cut into small pieces)
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. curd
  • ½ tsp. kesari powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 dabs of butter
  1. Mix all the ingredients together making sure that the meat is covered on all sides.
  2. Leave it in the freezer to marinate overnight or for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Now we have to roast the meat. If you are able to roast then it’s the best if not follow the steps below to get the roasted chicken effect and taste.
  4. Grease a baking tray, place the marinated chicken and bake it for 10 minutes on 230 degrees. The chicken should brown here and there.
  5. Or butter a skillet and fry the chicken on both sides till they turn brown.
  6. Now to get the lovely roasted smell, take a flat pan. Place a small silver bowl in the middle (You can also shape aluminum foil like a bowl. This is easy as it can be easily disposed) Then add a dab of butter and place a red coal in the butter.
  7. Place the baked chicken around the bowl with butter and close the pan tightly with a lid.
  8. Let it stand for 5 to10 minutes. Now the roast chicken is ready.


Preparing the tahini sauce


Preparing the tahini sauce

First let us make the tahini.

  • 2 cups sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Put both in a blender and blend till you get a thick pourable mixture.

preparing the tahini

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup water or as needed
  1. Chop the garlic into small pieces.
  2. Add the tahini and blend it well.
  3. Add the lemon juice, salt and the finely chopped parsley and mix well.
  4. Add water if the mixture is too thick.


Vegetable filling


Vegetable filling

  • Onion cut into rings
  • Capsicum into strips
  • Tomato into circles
  • The rest of the vegetables are optional. I add carrots and cabbages sliced finely. You can also add lettuce, bell pepper or baked aubergine.
  • Pickles also are a part of shawarma. Mango pickle, chili pickle or cucumber pickle is placed with the filling.


Preparing the hummus dip


Preparing the dip

Hummus (dip for shawarma)

  • 2 cups chick peas
  • ½ cup chick pea stock water
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped or dab of garlic paste
  • Dab of ginger paste
  • ½ tsp. cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp. coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil the chick peas till soft. Pressure cooking is a good idea. (Soaking chick peas overnight with a pinch of baking powder will make it easy to boil)
  2. Drain the chick peas and collect the water.
  3. Add the olive oil in a small pan.
  4. Add the ginger garlic and let it fry till it turns brown.
  5. Add the spices to this oil and fry on low flame for 1 minute.
  6. Add the chick peas, ½ cup chick pea water (if you are using canned chick peas then add normal water), the fried spices, salt, pepper and the lemon juice in a blender and puree it.
  7. It should be pourable and thick. If it’s too thick you can add more chick pea stock.
  8. Add the tahini and serve!

# I personally love to mix some ketchup and same amount of mayonnaise and use this as a dip.




  1. Heat a roti on a pan without oil.
  2. Spread the tahini sauce on the roti or you can also pour it on the vegetables.
  3. Keep chicken on the roti. The chicken should fill ¼ of the roti.
  4. Spread some vegetables on the top.
  5. Wrap the roti and roll it in a cut foil or oil paper.
  6. Some people like to heat the shawarma that is wrapped in the foil in an oven. I prefer not to as heating will cook up the vegetables and the crunchiness will not be there.
  7. Dip in the sauce and gobble it up!

Learn to make meat-balls at home.



Jul 26, 2012 10:20am
Fantastic article yummy! Now I feel really hungry. May have to try this without the mayo dip.thumbs up from me, keep up the good work.
Jul 26, 2012 4:31pm
Thank you for your lovely comment and the thumbs up. Please do come back and comment after you make shawarma. All the best. :)
Jul 27, 2012 8:10am
This is drool-inducing -- seriously!

I love gyros, but I've never had one of these and the first Middle Eastern joint I visit next, if it's on the menu, I'm gonna order it!! Great walk-thru, images fantastic, and a big ol' starving thumb from moi!

Make sure oyu sibmit it for a feature.
Jul 27, 2012 8:32am
O thank you so much for your comment. Sorry to make your stomach growl, be our guest and we will be happy to make shawarma for you.
Thank you for your starving thumb too!
Jul 30, 2012 12:43am
I agree with the others, this article is really... yummy! Thumb from me too
Jul 30, 2012 8:40am
Thank you so much adragast. Thank you for the comment and your thumb. Try this out and tell me how it turns out.
Jul 15, 2013 7:30am
It sounds yum-yum. And the pictures are great!
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