I was just alerted to the fact that today is National Sandwich Day. I should keep-up with these…celebrations? announcements? gimmicks? I will add that to my list of 2016 resolutions.
What does one look for in a sandwich? Lately, I have decided that a sandwich should have the equivalent of a complete meal, except in sandwich form. The Lebanese shawarma fits the bill since it contains meat (or chicken), raw veggies,herbs, tahini sauce, pickles and bread.
There are many versions of shawarma. This one below is from one of the most popular TV chef in the Arab region, Mrs. Manal el-Alem. I have my own recipe in the cookbook and have posted yet another on the blog a few years back. I have only slightly adapted Manal El-Alem’s recipe.
If you care to see my shawarma video, here is the link. It was shot on location in Lebanon.
The spices used in this recipe can be changed according to your taste. In the video, I add some cardamom and a few pieces of mastic.
I have also posted a fish shawarma recipe (my own) ; I have done a video for it as well.
2 pounds tender beef roast sliced against the grain into thin ribbons (it is easier to freeze the meat first for 30 minutes before slicing it)
1 Tbsp mashed garlic or garlic paste
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup oil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp shawarma spices (in Middle-Eastern stores); see note below
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 large tomato, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (I skip this)
3 to 5 Tbsp sumac
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup or more cucumber pickles
Pita bread (one per serving)
*I like to add sliced tomatoes to my sandwich
Tahini sauce (tarator)
1 cup tahini
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp vinegar (I prefer all lemon juice)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I substitute mashed garlic)
1. Place the meat with all the spices, oil and vinegar in a pyrex; cover and marinate several hours or overnight. Leave out the tomatoes and peppers.
2. Heat a large skillet, drain the meat and panfry over medium heat stirring frequently till cooked. Add the tomatoes, peppers, rest of the spices, panfry for a few minutes; add about one cup of water and cook over reduced heat for about 15 minutes longer.
3. While the meat is cooking, prepare the tahini sauce; place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk till creamy, adding more water or lemon juice if it is too thick or to taste.
4. Place the onion slices in a bowl, add the sumac and toss; add the vinegar if you like, but drain the onions when adding to the sandwiches. Open each pita, slather with the tahini sauce, add about one cup of the shawarma slices (with the cooked veggies), then some onion, parsley,pickles and (or) sliced tomatoes if desired. Roll-up and serve immediately.
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