Shawarma is a popular non vegetarian side dish in the Middle East, which is fast catching up in the rest of the world. Shawarma normally is a juicy sandwich-like wrap made of grilled lamb, chicken and other meat varieties. It is a fast food usually eaten with pickled vegetables.
Shawarma is an Arabic dish, most precisely a bread wrap resembling a sandwich with a filling of meat like chicken, goat, or lamb or a mixture of meat and vegetables. There are several variations of Shawarma recipes that have become popular all over the world, especially all over Arab, the Caucasus and Europe. In the Eastern Mediterranean region, Shawarma is also popularly known as “Middle Eastern Taco.” The meat for this dish is put on spit and is generally grilled for several hours, which may be as long as a day. The recipes have different variations in different cuisines and often known by different names. In the Greek cuisine, the popular Shawarma variation is called “gyros,” while in Armenian cuisine, the dish is better known as “tarna.” In Turkish cuisine, the recipe is familiar to people as döner kebab, all of which mean “turning.” In Iraq, the dish is called “guss.” This is because, the meat for this dish is shaved off a rotating cone which is arranged with layered meat and are roasted on it with electric heat or radiant gas. The meat pieces are sliced off from the rotating cone and served fold in pita bread or any other Shawarma bread with condiments and garnishes.
The word “Shawarma” has been derived from a Turkish word “çevirme,” which means “turning.” Shawarma originated as döner kebab, in Northeastern part of Turkey. However, the modern Shawarma recipes have been brought to form and popularity by the Turkish population residing in Germany. In the ancient times, wood fire was used for cooking Shawarma instead of the modern gas flame.
Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation according to Shawarma Recipes
In the preparation of Shawarma, the meat pieces are well marinated and placed on the spit or the rotating cone. A tomato or onion is placed at the top of the stick for enhancing the flavor of the meat. The spit is kept rotating for hours allowing the meat to roast on a low flame and at slow pace. Once cooked, the meat is sliced off the stack using knife and wrapped inside the sandwich bread with vegetables, dressing and garnishes. Some common vegetables, herbs and condiments that are used include cucumber, eggplant, cabbage, lettuce, parsley, onions, French fries, tomatoes and pickled turnips and gherkins. The popular dressings that are often used in the Shawarma recipes include tahini (a paste made of sesame seeds), amba sauce (mango pickle containing chilbeh), hummus flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and vinegar, toum (garlic sauce), skhug (chili sauce), pomegranate concentrate, cheese, mustard sauce and garlic mayonnaise.
Serving and Eating Shawarmas
The bread that is generally used for Shawarma sandwich can vary from pita bread and lavash bread to taboon bread. The Shawarma recipes for salads are also quite popular which are generally used for the sandwich filling and include fattoush salad, tomato and cucumber salad or tabouli salad. The Shawarma bread is often also served with toppings that may include hummus, tahini, amba or pickled turnips. Popular Shawarma Variations In the Middle Eastern countries, chicken Shawarma is more preferred than beef or lamb Shawarmas whereas in Saudi Arabia, goat meat is more preferred for the dish. Often in some regions, baguettes or hot dog buns are used for the Shawarma breads.
Popular Shawarma Recipe
Shawarma can be easily fixed by stacking up strips of marinated meat on a stick and roasting them on all sides. Though most restaurants serve only one meat, some offer a mixture of meat. Vegetables such as cucumber, onion and tomato are added in the preparation of shawarma. In some countries, an ample of dose of French fries is also added. The most common Shawarma dressings are Amba sauce or hummus. Shawarma is usually served with garlic mayonnaise, garlic sauce or a hot chilly sauce known as orskhug.
Health and Nutrition Facts: Shawarma Recipes
Meat Shawarma is a dish that is rich in vitamins A, B6, C, niacin, thiamine and folate and minerals like magnesium, iron, sodium, potassium and calcium. Proteins are also abundantly present in Shawarma recipes. The dish also contains carbohydrates, dietary fiber, fats, sugar and cholesterol and depending on the recipe, the calorie yielded by Shawarma can range between 60 and 600.