Chicken Shawarma and Middle Eastern Rice

Last week I made a new recipe that I have never made before. I love Middle Eastern food and this was easy for a weeknight meal, it just required a little bit of prep work. I served the sliced chicken on whole wheat pita bread with diced tomatoes, a quick yogurt sauce and a side of Middle Eastern rice. The chicken was really flavorful and it turned out so well that I might add this to our weekly menu rotation.

Chicken Shawarma

Recipe Courtesy of Laura Vitale

For the marinade:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the yogurt sauce:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

Add oil, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cardamom, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper to a bowl and combine with a whisk. Add this mixture to a large ziplock bag and add chicken thighs. Seal bag and make sure chicken is well-coated in spice mixture. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

Heat an indoor grill pan to medium high and also preheat oven to 350 degrees. You could also use an outdoor grill but I am not very confident with my grilling techniques and hubby was not home so an indoor grill pan was what I used. I also used the oven to guarantee that my chicken was cooked through. (I guess I’m not confident in my indoor grilling techniques either!)

Grill the chicken pieces for about 3-4 minutes per side in small batches. Place the chicken on a sheet pan in preheated oven for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through or registers 165 degrees. Once cooked, let rest for five minutes before slicing each thigh into strips.

Grilling on the first side
Grilling on the second side

To make the yogurt sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and serve on top of the chicken.

To assemble, warm the pitas and top each one with grilled chicken, diced tomatoes and the yogurt sauce.

I made this Middle Eastern rice dish as a side dish. It was really good but sadly, none of my family likes rice in shape or form so I was the only one who ate it. 😦

Middle Eastern Rice

Recipe Adapted from Tori Avey

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1/4 cup of cashews

In a saucepan, over medium heat, sauté the onion and carrot. Add the rinsed rice and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Add the garbanzo beans and spices and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cook rice covered for 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with a fork, add cilantro and cashews before serving.


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