An easy, authentic spiced shawarma chicken wrap with pickles and garlic mayo.

Shawarma.

How fun of a word is THAT? I just want to keep adding a bunch of vowel/consonant combinations in the middle of it and say it over and over.

I’d never even heard of shawarma for the first 20 years of my life until I got to Spain my junior year of college and discovered the amazingness that is the Spanish night life.

It went something like this:

9-11pm: tapas and wine

11-4am: clubs, tight clothing, dancing, drinks and gorgeous men

4-5am: SHAWARMA kiosk/truck for drunken eats

Spiced shawarma chicken wraps
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5-6am: walk home, except there’s no “shame” in this walk, it’s just the norm in Spain.

Shawarma chicken wraps

But back to the shawarmamamama.

You know how good diner food tastes after a night of drinking?

Well, magnify that by like 20 for chicken shawarma from a hole in the wall food kiosk truck thingy in Spain.

I feel the same about beef kafta kabobs btw. Another late night/early morning treat we’d order from the same food truck.

Like a gyro but better because it’s all spiced up and usually involves pickles.

I live for pickles.

So when I found out this was our next pick from Faith’s cookbook I was slightly excited to relive my 20 year old, post drinking, 5am snack days.

Shawarma chicken

It was a little less exciting this time around though.

No obnoxious amounts of alcohol, dancing or gorgeous men (oh, just kidding Ulysses was home) but, the shawarma totally stole the show.

I don’t even know how to explain this chicken besides likening it to edible crack.

Perfectly spiced, crispy and just totally irresistible (ok, I guess I did explain it).

Paired with pickles and a faux-garlic mayo (I cheated and used greek yogurt), I seriously didn’t want the wrap to end.

It’s great with a beet and feta salad or this Mediterranean chopped salad for some greens.

Shawarma yourself.

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5 from 1 vote

Spiced Shawarma Chicken Wraps

Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 3 hours 45 minutes
An easy, authentic spiced shawarma chicken wrap with pickles and garlic mayo.

Ingredients 

Spiced Shawarma Chicken Wraps

  • 1 batch Shawarma Spice Mix
  • 1/2 cup 125 ml plain yogurt
  • 11/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 lb 1 kg boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to cook
  • 16 Flatbreads
  • Garlic Mayonnaise, page 24
  • Pickles, page 27

Shawarma Spice Mix

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper, cayenne (optional)

Pickles

  • 1 cup 250 ml hot water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar 7-10 Persian or Japanese cucumbers washed and ends slightly trimmed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Purified water, to cover the cucumber
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil

Garlic Mayonnaise

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed in a mortar and pestle with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites or 1 large egg
  • 1 cup 250 ml oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Instructions 

Spiced Shawarma Chicken Wraps

  • Prepare the Shawarma Spice Mix.
  • Combine the spice mix with the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and spread 1 tablespoon of oil on the inside of a large baking dish.
  • Scrape off any excess marinade from the chicken with your hands. Starting in the center of the oiled dish, arrange the chicken so that it overlaps, and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on top. Bake (uncovered) 1 hour, or until the chicken is fully cooked; cool. (It’s done when you cut into the center and there is no pink.)
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer it to a large cutting board; slice it very thinly across the grain, then transfer it back into the pan it was cooked in to soak up the juices (the chicken can be refrigerated this way for up to 3 days before continuing with the rest of the recipe, or you can continue after 10 minutes).

Pickles

  • Combine the 1 cup (250 ml) hot water, salt, and sugar in a large measuring cup with a pour spout; stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved and then cool to room temperature.
  • Sterilize a 1-liter (1.06 qt) canning jar.
  • Cut the cucumbers into spears by cutting them in half lengthwise, and then cutting each half lengthwise into 3 equal pieces.
  • Put 1 clove of garlic in the bottom of the jar, add the cucumber spears, and then add the other clove of garlic on top.
  • Pour in the water/salt/sugar mixture, then add enough purified water so that the
  • cucumbers are completely covered, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of free space at the top.
  • Let the jar sit at room temperature to form pickles. The pickles are ready to eat when the cucumber turns khaki green in color, and they smell faintly of vinegar. This will take about 5 to 7 days in hot weather and 15 to 20 days in colder weather.
  • Once the pickles are ready to eat, drizzle in the oil and store refrigerated.

Garlic Mayonnaise

  • Crush the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle until it forms a smooth paste.
  • Whisk together the garlic paste and egg until well blended.
  • Add the oil, drop-by-drop, while whisking (after you’ve added 1 tablespoon of oil
  • drop-by-drop, you can add the oil a little faster). Make sure the oil you add is fully
  • incorporated before adding any more.
  • Once you’ve added 1/2 cup (125 ml) oil, alternate between gradually adding the oil and lemon juice and continue mixing until fully incorporated.
  • Add the cold water and mix until smooth and creamy.

Notes

Recipe Courtesy of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 879kcalCarbohydrates: 109gProtein: 38gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 4580mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
TRIED THIS RECIPE?COMMENT + RATE BELOW!

*While I didn’t make the garlic mayo and pickles, the recipes for both are above so don’t be intimidated by all the text! The shawarma wraps were really quite simple!

Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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24 Comments

    1. Sorry you didn’t like it, I’m surprised you found it flavorless given all the spices in the recipe.

  1. Is there a part of this recipe that I’m missing? It looks like you pan-fried the thinly sliced pieces? Or did you bake in your skillet? I love shawarma, doner kebab, gyro, what have you. We actually had the best ones ever in Vietnam of all places! Definitely trying this recipe ASAP!!

    1. Yeah, admittedly these directions are confusing (they’re copied verbatim from the cookbook so I didn’t have control over changing them). Basically, I cooked the chicken in an oiled/greased baking dish first like it says. Then you remove the chicken from the oven and cook it again in a skillet. It says to use the same pan but that’s not possible if you used a baking dish in the oven! So just use a skillet and cook/pan fry them that way at the end. Hope that makes sense!

      1. Ah, okay, gotcha. Thanks for clearing that up! Maybe if I do it in a cast iron skillet I can use the same dish. Thanks!

  2. The Shawarma spice mix looks fantastic. A few years ago I would have made a veggie version of this with seitan, but now that I don’t use seitan anymore I’m at a loss for a vegetarian version of all these good chicken recipes— taking suggestions from your readers here.

  3. I loved this recipe! I have wanted to try Shawarma since The Avengers but haven’t had the chance, and when I saw how similar it was to gyros I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t do the pickles because my boyfriend hates pickles, so I used chopped tomato, and instead of the recipe here I just crushed garlic and salt and added it to Hellmans. I used sundried tomato flatbread wraps and they came out AWESOME!
    Since I mostly follow a paleo/primal diet I will probably make them with lettuce wraps going forward, but I just wanted to thank you for posting this recipe, it was delicious! Awesome story about shawarma and your time in Spain as well! :D

    1. Glad you liked it! I’ll be making them again with lettuce wraps too, was thinking about that when I posted these actually. Perfect paleo/primal solution :)

  4. I need to try this whole Mediterranean thing! Sounds so tasty :) And everyone’s always talking about how the Med. diet gives the most vitality! Definitely not a bad thing.