Ok, this post has been at the top of my list of ‘things I have to make for the food blog’ since the spring. That’s because in the spring I had to drive past this amazing middle eastern cafe called Habibi in Portsmouth to take my kids to their LaCrosse practices and games all the time. And after just. one. taste. of their chicken schwarma wrap, I couldn’t get enough. And then I let my kids order it and they couldn’t get enough. And then I’ll be chatting with my friends or at a party, and someone will bring up Habibi. And inevitably the conversation goes to ‘have you tried the chicken schwarma?!’ ‘Oh my gosh, its so good!’
You get the idea. It’s addictive. Chicken schwarma is like a pillow of flavor…a flavor bomb cloud…a pocket full of chewy aromatic creamy tangy flavors that just hit every taste bud.
But don’t take my word for it. It’s really easy to make too.
I may have stalked asked the owner who is a LOVELY woman how she makes it. And she told me the key is to marinate it in the seasonings, lemon, garlic and Greek yogurt OVERNIGHT. There are all kinds of schwarma recipes online that don’t use greek yogurt in the marinade or they say ‘2 hours’ and if you’re between not having the schwarma or having it marinated only 2 hours, fine, go for it. But really do your self a solid and just make it while your making dinner one night and it will be ready for lunch/after school/dinner the next day.
Also, in my experience the lettuce can vary, the tomatoes be sliced cherry or diced, but you are really going to want to add some sliced onions to the marinade and toss them in those flavors before you cook the chicken.
And you are really going to want some of the creamy garlic sauce. A store bought pita warmed is a totally yummy flavor vehicle, but if you want to find a homemade recipe I really want to try this one.
This recipe is great for crowds and is really cost effective IF you already have a pretty well stocked spice cabinet. Pro Tip: I actually keep all my middle eastern spices on one shelf and my regular spices on another so its easy to pull together something like this or a curry.
If you don’t it is worth it to invest in all of these spices since they the backbone of every curry recipe. If you can’t find ground cardamom I listed it as optional because this recipe has a TON of flavor and its the one that isn’t as essential. The cumin, coriander, turmeric and paprika are all pretty important, and the cayenne just adds heat – if you are making it for kids you can leave it out too. If you love heat, go ahead and add a whole teaspoon.
So next time you’re at the store don’t forget to get a few pounds of chicken thighs, pitas and some Greek yogurt and veggies. And then throw it together and forget about it. And then…
Prepare to fall in love.
Happy Eating! xoxo Katie
1-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic minced
1 T cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 T ground cardamom (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 T lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
Mixed greens, chopped romaine, or shredded iceberg lettuce
Cherry tomatoes, halved
- In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, seasonings, lemon juice, olive oil and greek yogurt. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover or transfer to a ziplock back and refrigerate overnight, or even better up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425° and grease a large baking sheet with oil or cooking spray. Add onion to marinade and toss to coat. Remove chicken and onion from marinade and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until chicken is golden and cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Let chicken rest on cutting board for 5 minutes, then thinly slice.
- Meanwhile, make yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, oil, and garlic. Season with salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. To serve as a pita, top warmed pitas with chicken, onion, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and yogurt sauce.