May 27, 2010 by Dana
When you hear the word Egypt, what comes to mind? The Nile? Ancient pyramids? Cleopatra? Camels?
When I hear Egypt, I think food. Well, more accurately, I think of my stepmom, Aida, and her cooking. Aida was born and raised in Alexandria, and makes the most deliciously authentic Middle Eastern food. Today’s recipe is one of her specialties, chicken schwarma.
1.5 lbs chicken, thinly sliced
1 package of SPYSI schwarma seasoning
Splash of lemon juice
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Last time I visited my dad and Aida, she sent me home with a few packages of schwarma seasoning and some instructions to make her chicken schwarma. I was excited to make something new and tried it right away.
The only problem was that it was January, and she had said to cook the chicken on the grill. Now, that’s fine for her in Florida, but for me, in NY, grilling in January is just not an option. So I improvised. I sautéed the chicken on the stove and added all the ingredients to the sauté pan… What I ended up with was a spicy chicken stew-ish concoction. It was good, but it was not schwarma.
But now, it’s grill season! My building’s rooftop grill area has re-opened for the summer. It’s time for some real schwarma!
1. In a large ziplock bag or bowl, mix thinly sliced chicken with schwarma seasoning. Add lemon juice as needed to make a paste with the dry seasoning. Coat the chicken well.
2. Mix tomatoes and parsley together in a large bowl.
3. Grill chicken until cooked through. Do not overcook; the moister the chicken, the better. (Around here, Jake is our resident griller – he grilled the chicken in a vegetable basket so that the chicken didn’t fall through the grates.)
4. Add the grilled chicken to the tomato and parsley salad. Top with tahini as desired.
And there you have it, Aida’s chicken schwarma! Well, it wasn’t exactly Aida’s, but it was pretty tasty. For a complete meal, schwarma can be served over rice or with hot pita. I happened to have some whole wheat tortillas on hand, so I made a chicken schwarma wrap… Yum!