When The Hubble and I lived in Syracuse, NY we went to our first Mediterranean restaurant. The restaurant was Munjed's. We quickly became fans of Munjed's and ate there so often that the cook knew our order as soon as he saw us walk in the door. We tried many of the items on the menu and to this day I've never found a better hummus than the hummus I devoured by the spoonful at Munjed's. The Hubble (who always said he hated hummus) would eat Munjed's hummus. Even Little Butt enjoyed a little Munjed's action in her three years of life. Over the years, and travels, we've tried other Mediterranean type restaurants and have never come close to the deliciousness that is Munjed's. However, The Hubble ran off to play in Afghanistan last year and he had some pretty scrumptious cuisine over there he says. He waxes poetic about the Afghan foot bread even. So I decided to try my hand at a spicy chicken shawarma dinner that I found in my Cooking Light magazine. I changed things up a bit and sat down to have my first bite while The Hubble was making his. With each bite I exclaimed "Oh my God" and The Hubble looked at me and said "that good huh?" Then he had his first bite. I am happy to say that he gave me the best compliment ever. He rolled his eyes back, finished chewing and said "man this takes me back." He compared my cooking to that of the Afghans! I mean, they made their own naan, they killed the chickens and cooked them fresh. They grew their own veggies. And mine reminds him of being in Afghanistan again?!?! Needless to say, this recipe will be in our regular rotation from now on. And now it can be in yours:
Start by trimming the chicken of all the fat and cutting it in very thin strips.
Mix the salt, red pepper, ginger, cumin, and coriander in a large bowl.
Add 2 Tablespoons garlic, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 Tablespoons yogurt. Mix it all together...
And add your chicken.
Toss the chicken in the sauce until fully coated. Now set it aside to let it marinate while you chop all your veggies.
Chop your cucumber and set it aside (mine is chopped a bit big, you can go smaller than that).
Next you are going to dice your onion. Here's the easiest way I've found to do that (feel free to let me know if you have an easier way):
Cut off the end opposite the root end (leave the root end in tact).
Peel off the skin (and I like to take off the first layer as well) of the onion.
Now slice it 3/4 of the way toward the root.
Once you have made all the slits going one way, turn the onion and do the same going the opposite direction.
Turn the onion on it's side and slice it.
All the pieces fall off in a nice little diced fashion.
Now set that aside.
Chop your tomato and set that aside with the cucumber and onion.
Back to the chicken. Heat oil in a pan and add the chicken mixture. Stir frequently until thoroughly cooked (chicken should be white on the inside, no pink).
Throw your naan on a grill and warm that. I like those little grill lines on mine. This also makes the naan nice and crispy.
Once the naan is nice and crispy warm, spread a good helping of tzatziki on it.
Top with chicken, cucumber, onion, and tomato.
Spicy Chicken Shawarma
Adapted from Cooking Light
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons plain low-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 naan or whole wheat pita
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/2 cup chopped plum tomato
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- Prepared tzatziki sauce (to taste)
- Combine salt, crushed red pepper, ground ginger, ground cumin, and ground coriander in a large bowl; stir in yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic cloves.
- Add chicken; toss to coat.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until browned and done, stirring frequently.
- Grill naan or pita until crisp.
- Top with tzatziki sauce, chicken, cucumber, tomato, and red onion.
- Serve and enjoy!