You can make it at home from scratch — tender pulled pieces of meat, the gravy, pickles, and herbs — and you can do it all without a grill tower or spit. Ideally, thigh chunks or dark meat are best for making shawarma as they are fattier, although white or brisket chunks also work. Also a tip, when buying your meat, ask your butcher or supermarket to slice it thinly as this will also speed up the cooking process.
We contacted Zahrat Lebnan, one of the oldest Lebanese restaurants in Abu Dhabi. It was established in 1983 and is one of the most popular places to get shawarma in the capital. Here is a quick recipe you can try:
Preparation time: 6 hours or overnight
Cooking time: 2h30
1 kg pieces of marinated beef or chicken
3 to 4 crushed garlic cloves
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon ginger (ground or powder)
½ cup finely chopped parsley or chervil
3 sprigs of cilantro or cilantro leaves
1. Combine all the mentioned spices with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar in a blender. Blend until smooth to make the marinade. Do not add the olive oil yet.
2. Cut beef or chicken lengthwise into thin 4-inch portions.
3. In a bowl, rub the meat with the marinade, drizzle with olive oil and rub again. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. If you’re using chicken, you can marinate it for four to six hours.
4. Arrange the pieces of meat in a baking dish with a little marinade. Seal tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 270 to 300F (130 to 150C) for two hours.
5. Once cooked, shred the meat on a cutting board.
6. In a small bowl, combine and whisk the tahini paste, crushed garlic, lemon juice and salt until there are no lumps. You can even use a food processor.
7. Place about 100 grams of grated shawarma in pita bread along the diameter. Drizzle with freshly made tahini sauce, add freshly grilled tomato fries and garnish with chervil and cilantro.
8. Tightly roll up the shawarma and place it on parchment paper or foil.
9. Serve hot and enjoy with carrots, radishes and dill pickles!
You can also do the same with leftover roast chicken.