Chicken Shawarma with Lavash
What does July 6th mean to you?
Aftermath of 4th July,back to work, may be a birthday or anniversary or just another day in calendar worth rejoicing over.Let me tell you what i remember with this day.Decade ago,this day I disembarked Air India flight at JFK international airport.Both me and my dear friend,Deepa, looked at each other and probably gasped in amazement saying something to the effect of ,’’wow..this is it.We are in America.” We were too excited to feel tired after 20 odd hours of flying in coach.
We were greeted by my friend’s relatives at the airport.Priya, Rajnish, Reeba, thank for being there to receive us.It was a relief to know somebody in the foreign country.Our domestic flight to final destination was not until next morning,so they drove us around to show us NY that evening.We went to the site where world trade center used to be.Magnanimity of 9/11 was unfathomable.
Making our way around,we strolled on the street of financial district,NASDAQ building and few other news making streets.I remember looking at the Statue of Liberty in the middle of Hudson.History and Geography came alive.I wish i had functional camera that day which didn’t take grainy pictures.
In this touring process,we also walked by street side fast food joints.We were hungry.I can’t remember exactly what I ate,since I wasn’t sure about the ‘meat’ part but I remember what my friend and rest of the folks had.It was either Greek Gyro or Turkish shawarma wrapped in flat bread.I didn’t know that’s what it was called that time but I vividly remember long vertical rotating ‘stuff’ which has meat cooking on it.Meat was peeled and served from there directly.I know now that vertical rotating ‘stuff is ‘Turkish Doner’.
..So i wanted to make something which reminded me of food and aroma of my first day in USA.
Reality Check :
I can not make Gyro and Shawarma at home without vertical rotating pit by purist standard BUT for homecook this is as far as i can go using conventional cooking method.
I researched the dish and this is what i know of
- Chicken is cut in very thin strips,mimicking authentic thin slices of meat sizzling on doner grill.Difference between gyro and shawarma is meat. Traditionally gyro has minced beef as suppose to sliced lamb in shawarma,though nothing is set in stone these days.Lots of food rebels are out there,so are the varieties.
- Cardamom, nutmeg, garlic , yogurt and lemon juice are key ingredients.
- It is traditionally served with grilled onion and peppers topped with Tahini, Hummus,Tzatziki sauce.Since noone other then me likes any of these condiments,i made guacamole for family and i had it with yogurt sauce.
- It is wrapped in pita bread/flat bread.We didn’t any pita in hand and i was doubtful about its favorability in our house.So i made Armenian Lavash bread because it resembled Naan,one of our family fav.
- If you are from Texas,you will think of this dish as middle eastern taco.
- Grilling will result in better looking texture but i don’t wanted to mess with grill so i cooked in regular pan.Make sure you cook it medium high heat without crowding the pan or it will release lots of water and not char.If that happens,cook it until water dries out and meat starts browning.
- Let me first say that we all in our family are in LOVE with this bread.Our kids specially.
- It is cooked in similar fashion as Indian Naan,inside hot Tandoor sort of arrangement and it tastes similar to Naan.Again,something which is not conducive to home cook.I used Indian skillet and bread came out fluffy, i buttered it.Result was…our kids were disappointed that we didn’t had leftover.
- You can pat and stretch the bread instead of rolling it and i made some like that however rolling down is easier and less time consuming.
- It is an Armenian, Persian, middle eastern bread and uses very simple ingredients.Really,it is hard to mess it up.Give it a try.
- It is cooked in two different textures,crispy and crunchy like crackers and pliable like Naan.It depends on how thin and thick bread is rolled and what heat it is cooked on.Crispy version can very well be used as pizza.
- I followed THIS RECIPE here for this bread.