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Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Your simple, succulent summer grill favorite is here! Many spices are called for to get the classic shawarma flavor, but note that you'll be using your spices all season long, so the investment is worth it! Marinate the chicken for as little as an hour and up to a day; flavor is full either way. Grill the skewered meat at show-time and serve immediately, or grill in advance and reheat the cut shreds stovetop in olive oil. Serve the grilled chicken shawarma with salads like fattoush and tabbouleh, atop Mom’s special rice. Or tuck the meat into small pita with lettuce and pickles like lifft (turnip pickles).



2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons mint salt or crushed dried mint
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste, or none at all)
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil

2.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 large red onion, cut in 8 wedges
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, to coat the grill and baste and finish the chicken
1/3 cup tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. In a small bowl, whisk all of the spices. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and whisk to combine completely.

2. In a medium bowl, place about half of the chicken thighs and half of the marinade. Rub the chicken, coating each piece well all over with the marinade. Add the rest of the chicken and marinade and again rub each piece all over with the marinade. Cover and chill for one hour or up to one day.

3. Make the tahini sauce by whisking the tahini, garlic, and salt. Set aside until the chicken is grilled. The sauce can be made a day or two ahead, covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

4. Heat the grill on medium high heat. While the grill heats up, thread the chicken and onion on skewers, disposing of any remaining marinade. Take care keep the chicken fairly loosely threaded so that more of it will char on the edges. I like stainless steel skewers. If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water first.

5. Using a paper or other towel on grill tongs, coat the hot grill grates with oil. Grill the skewers with the top down on the grill for 8-10 minutes, or until charred on the edges and browned. Again coat another area of the grill grates with oil and turn the skewers, placing them on the oiled surface. Coat the top of the grilled skewer with olive oil, close the grill top and cook for another 8-10 minutes, or until charred on the edges and browned.

6. Remove the skewers from the grill, and push the chicken and onions off onto a cutting board. Slice the chicken into 1/2-inch thick slices. Drizzle everything with more olive oil.

7. Serve the chicken drizzled with tahini sauce, with extra sauce in a bowl on the side.

Shawarma Pitas

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