Please stop what you’re doing. Rush to the grocery store. And buy the ingredients for these. Yeah, I don’t care that it’s 5 am/the middle of the night/whatever. Just do it.

My childhood best friend was from Pakistan and I loved being at her house because it always smelled delicious. Even when they weren’t cooking, the smell of all the spices would linger in the house and I just loved it. These Spiced Shawarma Chicken Wraps? They smelled just like her house. I opened my oven and was instantly taken back to age 11, remembering the time we got in major trouble because I convinced her to walk to my dad’s work when our school closed for snow. (We failed the walk, in case you were wondering.)

These wraps are so so so – I can’t say so enough – amazing. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and a ton of spices. I marinated mine overnight and every time I walked into the kitchen I could smell the cardamom which is one of my favorites! After it’s marinated, you bake it before slicing it very thin and pan-frying it to get it good and crispy. Then you wrap it up with some homemade garlic mayo (mash some fresh garlic into some mayo if you aren’t into making it) and some pickles.

I loved the simplicity of the wrap. Because it was just the garlic mayo and pickles, the spiced chicken was really the star of the show. I cannot say enough good things about this chicken – it would be delicious on salads or just by itself. It’s seriously good.

(As a reminder, I’m participating in A Mid-East Feast hosted by Nutmeg Nanny. I will be posting a few recipes from Faith’s cookbook and in a couple weeks I’ll have a full review.)

One year ago: Ground Beef Gorditas
Three years ago: Cheesy Grits Bread

Chicken Shawarma (A Mid-East Feast)

Ingredients

1 batch Shawarma Spice Mix
1/2 cup (125 ml) plain yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 lb (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for sautéing
16 flat breads
Garlic Mayonnaise (page 24)
Pickles
For the 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)
For the garlic mayonnaise:
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a mortar and pestle with ½ teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or 1 large egg
1 cup (250 ml) oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold water

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Shawarma Spice Mix.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F and spread 1 tablespoon of oil on the inside of a large baking dish.
  4. 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).
  5. Coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil. Once hot, add the sliced chicken and saute until crispy and golden brown (you may need to saute the chicken in two or three batches so the pan isn't overcrowded).
  6. Spread some Garlic Mayonnaise in the center of each piece of bread; add some chicken and pickles (and any other vegetables you like) and roll it up. Toast the sandwiches on a dry griddle or flat sandwich press so that the bread gets golden brown and slightly crispy.
  7. Serve as is, or cut into small rounds; serve with additional Garlic Mayonnaise for dipping.
  8. To make the garlic mayonnaise:
  9. 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.
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