Mmmmm. Ma-na-na-na. Guess what were making again tonight? This! Even though I'm just now writing this blog post, I have actually had this sitting in the rafters... Just waiting. I've been out of town (back home in Seattle) for some weddings. Congrats Chrystie Connelly (my sister) and Marie Koch! Anyway... If you like the Middle Eastern meat flavors... Then this is for you! And if you're hesitant, try it. My husband did not enjoy lamb (idiot) until spending time over there. And over all, I would consider their cuisine to be flavorful and filled with variety and spice! Plus, this particular dish is such an easy marinade that you can just throw on some chicken and let it sit.
Typical "shawarma" is actually slow roasted piles of meat, cooked for a day on a spit. I am not equipped for such cooking methods. But what I did here was copy the marinade/rub and allow those flavors to soak in. Then we grilled the meat to mimic it is closely as possible. My husband grabbed some naan and made a himself a little hand held sandwich. I kept mine a little lighter by just piling on the roasted eggplant (yuuuum) and added some extra kalamata olives, along with some tzatziki and it was super delicious.
I have a couple go-to chicken marinades, rubs, combos... This has made the cut. If you're curious what they are... 1) My Bahn Mi marinade, 2) Brined chicken breast, coated in Sriracha then grilled and 3) This!
Im not sure what to sell you on regarding serving size. I suppose it al depends on how you're serving it. If you're serving it with pita or naan, the chicken will "serve more". If you're just eating it with a veggie, or eggplant... You might be throwing in more protein to fill yourself up. But there's 3 pounds of chicken and 2 eggplants. The tzatziki yields 2-3 cups. So you plot your dinner and figure it out for your self. Skip the eggplant? You could, but you would be sad. Don't serve with naan? Your ass will thank you, your tongue might sigh. My husband loved his naan/chicken/tzatziki dinner. And I loved my chicken/eggplant/tzatziki dinner. So it is your call. Your race car. Your hot air balloon, magic unicorn or roller coaster ride. Man-bear-pig? Whatever, take the wheel Carrie Underwood.
Instructions/Ingredients for the Chicken Shwarama:
3 lbs boneless , skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1. Mix everything except the chicken in a bowl and stir together.
2. Add the chicken, evenly coating every piece.
3. Refrigerate/marinate for 2-6 hours.
4. When you're ready to cook the chicken, turn your grill onto a medium-high temp and cook for roughly 8 minutes per side. You can use a meat thermometer to verify that the internal temperature is right around 165 degrees.
5. Allow the chicken to sit, and slice thinly before serving.
Instructions/Ingredients for the Tzatziki:
(This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.)
14 oz Greek yogurt (I like Fage, it is one of the thicker ones you can find every where.)
3 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1. Combine all ingredients, except for the cucumber in a bowl and mix them together.
2. Using a grater, grate your cucumber into "shreds". (You can do larger or smaller shreds, it is up to you.)
3. Press the excess water out in whatever way you deem most sensible. (I like to squeeze a small handful over the sink then set it on a paper towel, repeating till I have finished with all of the grated cucumber. I then press the top with another paper towel.)
4. Stir the cucumber into the yogurt mix until it is all evenly mixed.
5. Cover, and set in the refrigerator before use.
Ingredients/Instructions for the Oven Roasted Eggplant:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp salt (more salt needed for eggplant prep as well)
parsley, garnish, optional
1. Cut each egg plant in half from top to bottom.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut 3-4 slits going diagonal down each side, resulting in a cross hatch pattern (look at pick at the top).
3. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes to draw out the excess liquid. If you skip this step, your eggplant is likely to be quite chewy.
4. Pat the eggplant dry.
5. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
6. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic paste and salt.
7. Place the sliced eggplant onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper or a silicone mat.
8. Using a basting brush, evenly coat the eggplants, making sure to get into the crevices.
9. Flip the eggplant so that the "meat" side is down.
10. Bake for 20 minutes, flip them over (carefully) and bake for another 10. (This will yield a very tender eggplant, you can shorten the cooking time if needed.)
Serving discussions have been listed above. That's why we always read till the end folks!
Serve and Enjoy!