Shawarma 101: Everything You Need To Make Them At Home

Shawarma has a long and rich history that dates back to the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century. The dish originated in Turkey and was known as döner kebab, which means "turning roast." It was traditionally made with lamb that was stacked on a vertical spit and slowly roasted over an open flame. As the meat cooked, it was shaved off and served in pita bread with vegetables and a yoghurt sauce.

In the early 20th century, shawarma spread throughout the Middle East and became a popular street food. It was especially popular in Lebanon, where it was made with chicken instead of lamb. Today, shawarma is enjoyed all over the world and has become a staple in many countries cuisines. Its popularity is due to its delicious flavour, affordability, and convenience, making it a perfect on-the-go meal for busy people.


The first ingredient you need is meat. Traditionally, shawarma is made with lamb, but you can also use chicken, beef, or a combination of these meats or even substitute falafel, paneer or vegetables. It should be thinly sliced and marinated in a flavorful spice blend. Some popular spices used in shawarma include cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric.


Next, you need vegetables to add flavour and texture to your shawarma. You can use any vegetables you like, but some popular options include onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber. It's important to chop the vegetables thinly so they can easily fit inside the sandwich.


The sauce is what brings everything together in a shawarma sandwich. The most common sauce used is tahini, a creamy sauce made from sesame seeds. Other popular sauces include garlic sauce and hummus. You can also add hot sauce or chilli flakes for some extra heat.


The bread used in a shawarma sandwich is crucial. Traditionally, shawarma is served on pita bread, but you can also use other types of flatbread. The bread should be soft and fluffy, with a slight chewiness that can hold all the ingredients.


To cook the meat, you need a grill. A traditional shawarma grill is vertical, but you can also use a horizontal grill or even a stovetop grill pan. The grill should be heated to a high temperature to cook the meat quickly and evenly.


To make the grilling process easier, you can use skewers to hold the meat. This allows you to easily rotate the meat and cook it evenly. If you don't have skewers, you can also use a grill basket or a wire rack.


In addition to the spice blend used to marinate the meat, you can also add extra spices to your shawarma. Some popular options include sumac, za'atar, and Aleppo pepper. These spices add depth and complexity to the flavour of your shawarma.