Are you bored with tuna or egg sandwich? Try this Arabic-style sandwich known as Chicken Shawarma. Chicken shawarma is one of the famous street dishes in Arabic cuisine.
Chicken shawarma is made with tender, juicy bites of chicken meat garnished with crunchy vegetables and creamy sauces. It is a perfect meal when you are on the go as not only it is tasty but healthy too.
What is Chicken Shawarma?
Chicken shawarma consists of pita bread stuffed with seasoned chicken slices, vegetables, and sauces. The common vegetables used in this sandwich are diced tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, pickles, and onion. The sauces may consist of chilli sauce, garlic sauce, tahini (sesame seed paste), and even mayonnaise.
History of Chicken Shawarma
Shawarma is an Arabic word of cevirme (Turkish), which means turning. It is associated with the Levantine Arab meat preparation that involves the turning rotisserie. The technique requires the seasoned meat to be stacked on a vertical spit.
The meat cooked in layers while turning the meat around. Once the outer layer is cooked, it is sliced off, so the meat inside can continue to cook. This process takes hours to prepare to produce juicy and tender meat. The seasoned chicken meat is kept up to 24 hours to ensure tenderness and flavour.
This type of cooking was invented in the 19th century during the Ottoman Empire, whereby lamb or mutton was commonly used. Today, other types of meat such as beef, chicken, and turkey are used to integrate with the local culture and cuisine.
Since the late ’90s, the migration of workers and students from the Middle East has contributed to the widespread of Arabic cuisine in Malaysia. Today, shawarma is widely enjoyed by the locals and some are fused with the local ingredients to assimilate with the local palate.
The Differences Between Shawarma and Gyro
At first glance, shawarma and gyro look like the same thing, which is why most of us tend to confuse those two. Even though their appearance and preparation method are quite similar, they are different from each other.
Shawarma and Gyro are meat dishes that are cooked on a rotating spit and then shaved into thin, savoury slices of meat. The meat is stuffed inside a flatbread and garnished with crunchy vegetables and sauce.
They both differ in term of origins, meat, and spices used. Shawarma originated from Turkey and is popular street food most in Middle Eastern countries, whereas gyro came from the Greek during the Alexander the Great period. The pronunciation of Gyro is YEE-roh which means ‘turning’ in Greek. Gyro was first introduced in the United States in 1970 by Greek immigrants. Traditionally, Gyro was made from pork and eventually, more people are substituting pork with lamb or beef to suit their palate.
The meat used is a processed meat that formed into a loaf and roasted. Shawarma meat is more tender than gyro and can be made from chicken, lamb, mutton, beef or camel. The beef meat consists of different cuts and parts, which is stacked on a vertical spit.
On one hand, shawarma meat is seasoned with a variety of spices such as cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, nutmeg, and vinegar. It is then marinated up to a day before cooked. On the other hand, the gyro meat is grounded and spiced with salt, garlic, rosemary, parsley, paprika, thyme, and oregano.
Shawarma can be served on a plate or in a sandwich, while Gyro typically served on pita bread.
Where to find Chicken Shawarma in Malaysia
The majority of Arabic restaurants in Malaysia serve Chicken Shawarma on the menu. Try a delicious and healthy Chicken Shawarma Sandwich from Shawarma King (Bangsar). If you prefer rice over bread, try Chicken Shawarma that is served with rice at Shawarma Damasus In(Bukit Bintang). Find more of the Arabic cuisine on foodpanda!