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 Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home

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EdSails

  • Total Posts: 3588
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  • Location: Mission Viejo, CA
Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 12:53 AM (permalink)
I thought it was timely seeing the thread about Gyros today, seeing that I had just made a related meal to put up here. The meal is shawarma, another rotisserie based meat and pita meal.
I started out with 2 1/2 pounds of top round/london broil. I sliced it into broad, thin, flat slices after freezing it for about 30 minutes. I made a marinade of olive oil, thin-sliced onion, garlic, zaatar, white pepper, salt and red pepper flakes. After marinating for a few hours, I began to make my rotisserie skewer. I put some foil on one of the prong sides and stood the rod on it's end. I put a layer of meat on, a few slices of the onion, and continues to layer meat and onion until it was all used up. I sed the other prong side to compress it and wrapped it in foil to make sure it stayed together. After chilling for an hour in the fridge, I put on the back burner for the rotisserie and got the skewer on.

 
After a few minutes of rotation I took the foil off.

 
In the meantime I blended a cup of greek yogurt with 5 fresh garlic cloves, 1/4 squeezed lemon, salt, white pepper and olive oil. Once it was blended completely I had my garlic sauce.
After an hour or so, the meat was nicely crisped. I put my cast iron grill beneath it and proceeded to cut some of the meat off.

 
The meat sliced nicely and fell onto the sizzling cast iron. I sliced off enough for a few sandwiches and continued to let the meat turn on the spit.
I had gone to my local Middle Eastern Market and picked up some fresh pita bread.

On went some fresh salad green, onion, grape tomatoes and some of the sauce.

 
I topped it of with the grilled beef.

 
Another topping of sauce and as much of a roll as I could do and it was ready to eat.

 

 
I made a second one and put some Srirachaca hot sauce on it. Yum!

 
Stuffed, I put away the leftovers. The meat reheats really well. I'm set for shawarma!
 
 
 
 
#1
    edwmax

    • Total Posts: 2015
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    • Location: Cairo, GA
    Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 6:18 AM (permalink)
    I had those while in Saudi.    ... I never figured out what the white mayo-like sauce was.   ... So it was a yogurt-garlic based.   Also, they used a red-meat type of radish that has a good flavor.
     
    #2
      ann peeples

      • Total Posts: 8317
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      • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
      Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 8:35 AM (permalink)
      EdSails-Looks fantastic, even at 7a.m!
       
      #3
        tcrouzer

        • Total Posts: 430
        • Joined: 5/26/2003
        • Location: Burlington, NC
        Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 9:20 AM (permalink)
        That looks good enough to eat! So now I know what Shawarma is - thanks!
         
        #4
          Reaper

          • Total Posts: 188
          • Joined: 10/10/2005
          • Location: Roanoke, VA
          Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 10:31 AM (permalink)
          Looks awesome.
           
          #5
            CCinNJ

            • Total Posts: 7762
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            • Location: Bayonne, NJ
            Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 10:35 AM (permalink)
            Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
             
            #6
              agnesrob

              • Total Posts: 1790
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              • Location: Park Ridge, NJ
              Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 10:57 AM (permalink)
              EdSails, that looks delicious! Thanks for posting!
               
              #7
                fishtaco

                • Total Posts: 742
                • Joined: 5/11/2010
                • Location: Roachdale, IN
                Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 11:21 AM (permalink)
                Tks Ed, that looks way to good.
                 
                #8
                  BillyB

                  • Total Posts: 2851
                  • Joined: 2/4/2009
                  Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 11:52 AM (permalink)
                  WOW ED, now thats going outside the box. Great job, thanks for taking us step by step, I will be making this in the spring.............I may even serve this in my Cafe and call it "Ed's Shawarma Pita" ..........Wonderful ........Bill ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,...........P.S. Where should I mail the Royalties to...............
                  <message edited by BillyB on Sat, 12/4/10 11:56 AM>
                   
                  #9
                    edwmax

                    • Total Posts: 2015
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                    • Location: Cairo, GA
                    Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home is just not the same Sat, 12/4/10 12:22 PM (permalink)
                    tcrouzer


                    That looks good enough to eat! So now I know what Shawarma is - thanks!

                    The Greek Gyro is just not the same.  Al tho, I believe it descended from the Shawarma through Turkey
                     
                    #10
                      edwmax

                      • Total Posts: 2015
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                      • Location: Cairo, GA
                      Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 12:54 PM (permalink)
                      BillyB


                      WOW ED, now thats going outside the box. Great job, thanks for taking us step by step, I will be making this in the spring.............I may even serve this in my Cafe and call it "Ed's Shawarma Pita" ..........Wonderful ........Bill ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,...........P.S. Where should I mail the Royalties to...............

                      Shawarma are standard sidewalk food in the middle-Eastern countries.    ... They can be a made with chicken, pork & lamb too.    I've seen the pita cut open and it served like a pita pocket.       ..... These are usually cooked on a vertical rotisserie and sliced off as the meat sears.      But, Ed's horizontal rotisserie method works too, I haven't thought of that.        .... Next most Shawarma stands had half of a citrus (orange) & onion on top to drip down the meat as it cooks and green peppers, tomato & onion in the bottom plate grilling.  A flat grill like Ed's will work for the peppers & onions.     These didn't have a lot of meat in them; ... more like a slider ... most people bought 3 or 4 at the time.
                       
                       
                       
                      #11
                        BillyB

                        • Total Posts: 2851
                        • Joined: 2/4/2009
                        Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 1:07 PM (permalink)
                        Hi Ed, I thought about using marinated Carne Asada meat and layering it like ED did and serving it like Al Pastor.............I could see the possibilities with this idea. We raise our own cows & pigs, this would give us another way to roast the pork................Bill
                         
                        #12
                          chewingthefat

                          • Total Posts: 6100
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                          • Location: Emmitsburg, Md.
                          Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 1:07 PM (permalink)
                          I'm on my way over, save some!
                           
                          #13
                            edwmax

                            • Total Posts: 2015
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                            • Location: Cairo, GA
                            Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 2:15 PM (permalink)
                            2 robbed pics of middle eastern shawarmas.      It show Ed was doing great at making these.

                             

                             
                            #14
                              edwmax

                              • Total Posts: 2015
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                              • Location: Cairo, GA
                              Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 2:25 PM (permalink)
                              BillyB
                               
                              The Al Pastor is a Mexican variation of the shawarma invented during the 1980's early 90's   .....   Oh, when making one, slice the pita half open like a pocket,then fill and roll up with the pocket down.    It'll stop the dripping and be easy to eat.
                               
                              #15
                                EdSails

                                • Total Posts: 3588
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                                Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 3:13 PM (permalink)
                                The al pastor (brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants, BTW) is going to be one of my next projects. The big advantage to the vertical spit is that it allows you to put an onion, cap of fat, etc. at the top and it is self-basting. Next time I'm going to try using by barbecue mop to do some basting and see what happens.
                                In the meantime, maybe I can figure out a way to turn the whole barbecue on it's end to make it into a vertical rotisserie. Hmmmm....that could work......
                                <message edited by EdSails on Sat, 12/4/10 3:16 PM>
                                 
                                #16
                                  TnTinCT

                                  Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 4:46 PM (permalink)
                                  That looks amazing!! I may need to go purchase a rotisserie just to be able to make that at home ;-) Do you have a meat slicer, or did you slice thin by hand?
                                   
                                  #17
                                    EdSails

                                    • Total Posts: 3588
                                    • Joined: 5/9/2003
                                    • Location: Mission Viejo, CA
                                    Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 6:21 PM (permalink)
                                    TnTinCT


                                    That looks amazing!! I may need to go purchase a rotisserie just to be able to make that at home ;-) Do you have a meat slicer, or did you slice thin by hand?

                                     
                                    I put the meat in the freezer for about 45 minutes or a little more. That firmed it up enough so I was able to slice across the top, creating mainly pieces that were 5" x5". The smaller pieces just got layered with the onions, usually pushed onto one of the prongs of the bottom (or side in this case) holder. The pieces were varying thickness----I tried to keep them to 1/4" or so but it did vary since I just used a serrated bread knife to slice them.
                                     
                                    #18
                                      EdSails

                                      • Total Posts: 3588
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                                      Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 6:25 PM (permalink)
                                      BillyB


                                      Hi Ed, I thought about using marinated Carne Asada meat and layering it like ED did and serving it like Al Pastor.............I could see the possibilities with this idea. We raise our own cows & pigs, this would give us another way to roast the pork................Bill

                                       
                                      In some of the more authentic places here in SoCal, that's exactly what they use. The important thing with al pastor is the marinade------the pork needs to have plenty of pineapple juice along with the onions and spices to make it great. The carne asada would be good too, food for thought!
                                       
                                      #19
                                        tarragon

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                                        Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 6:47 PM (permalink)
                                        Oh my gosh, EdSails, that looks soooo good!  I love shwarma sandwiches; the only thing missing is a bit of tahini (ground sesame paste) in the sauce--it gives it just a slight nutty hint that adds so much to the taste. I haven't been able to re-create it, though, so have to settle for take-out from a local Lebanese restaurant. Ah well, at least there's one not too far from me!
                                         
                                        #20
                                          EdSails

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                                          Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Sat, 12/4/10 6:54 PM (permalink)
                                          tarragon


                                          Oh my gosh, EdSails, that looks soooo good!  I love shwarma sandwiches; the only thing missing is a bit of tahini (ground sesame paste) in the sauce--it gives it just a slight nutty hint that adds so much to the taste. I haven't been able to re-create it, though, so have to settle for take-out from a local Lebanese restaurant. Ah well, at least there's one not too far from me!

                                          D'oh! I had a can of tahini too. My bad for not remembering to put some on!
                                           
                                          #21
                                            MontrealMagic

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                                            • Joined: 10/10/2010
                                            • Location: Montreal, XX
                                            Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Tue, 12/7/10 8:01 PM (permalink)
                                            Ed, I was born and grew up in the middle east, Kuwait. I lived in Saudi arabia and bahrain aswell, travelled to most of the other countries and I can tell you shawarma differs from country to country. In Kuwait we have a entire street devoted to little shawarma shops, you could really call it Arab roadfood.
                                             
                                            Your version looks great I can tell you were introduced to some quality shawarma. I too was wondering where the tahina was since you didn't mention it. I love your layering of the onion, really keeps the meat moist and juicy also adds alot of flavor. If you have a middle eastern shop near you we usually have harisa, a tunisian spicy chili spread, as our sriracha sauce. The heat fromt he harisa really compliments the white sauce or tahina sauce.
                                             
                                            I'd pay good money for yours.
                                            <message edited by MontrealMagic on Tue, 12/7/10 8:02 PM>
                                             
                                            #22
                                              1bbqboy

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                                              Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Tue, 12/7/10 11:28 PM (permalink)
                                              edwmax


                                              BillyB

                                              The Al Pastor is a Mexican variation of the shawarma invented during the 1980's early 90's   .....   Oh, when making one, slice the pita half open like a pocket,then fill and roll up with the pocket down.    It'll stop the dripping and be easy to eat.

                                              80's or 90's?
                                              mark miller says 30's.
                                               Tacos Al Pastor: Lebanon’s Gift to Mexico - Young & Hungry - Washington City Paper
                                                 , Here's what Miller says about tacos al pastor:
                                              "The meat for these "shepherd's" tacos is commonly seen roasting on vertical spits displayed with pride on street stands throughout Mexico. The spits are usually topped with a pineapple, which is thinly sliced and served in the tacos. This method of cooking meat is identical to that used for the spit-roasted lamb (shawarma) brought to Puebla, Mexico, by Lebanese immigrants in the 1930s. The technique was copied by the Mexicantaqueros (taco masters), who substituted pork for lamb. The original stand for tacos al pastor still exists in Puebla, with vertical spits of pork still revolving in front of its huge wood-burning hearth."
                                               
                                              <message edited by bill voss on Tue, 12/7/10 11:29 PM>
                                               
                                              #23
                                                edwmax

                                                • Total Posts: 2015
                                                • Joined: 1/1/2007
                                                • Location: Cairo, GA
                                                Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Wed, 12/8/10 4:42 AM (permalink)
                                                Looks like a difference in authorities;   ... your ref said mid 20th century;   this one said 60's http://mexicofoodandmore.com/dinner/tacos-al-pastor.html ;... this one said 30's http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/04/mexican-tacos-al-pastor-pork-tacos-recipe.html
                                                 
                                                I can't find the reference that I read weeks ago, so my memory might be faulty on the point,  ... different revivals of the Lebanese/Mexican, shawarma ...???...
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  1bbqboy

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                                                  Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Wed, 12/8/10 11:38 AM (permalink)
                                                  I'm not sure who Lindsay is, but I would trust Mark Miller over
                                                  him/her. just sayin'.
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    EdSails

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                                                    Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Wed, 12/8/10 12:15 PM (permalink)
                                                    Thanks, Montreal Magic.
                                                    Many times when I cook I don't go to the market with anything but a general idea of what I wanted to do. This time, I had just fixed the rotisserie so I went into the Middle Eastern Market where I shop occasionally knowing only that I wanted to to make something on it. I saw the meat, tried to remember what I had at home to use and came up with the shawarma recipe. The harissa idea is a good one------I had just picked up a jar this last weekend don't know how good what I bought is but it was worth trying. That's what happens a lot------I'll create in my head and forget other things. Tahini and harissa go to the top of the list when I make it again! I will try it next time-----I've been trying to figure out what to do with the harissa. Any suggestions?
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      MontrealMagic

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                                                      Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Wed, 12/15/10 9:46 AM (permalink)
                                                      Honestly my talents in the kitchen are limited to a few simple decisions, maybe a few complicated arab ones. The harisa is tunisian we have our own version in my country, but it is usually used as a condiment ontop of shawarma or couscous dishes. My mother is moroccan so she makes a fantastic couscous.
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        emmymom

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                                                        Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Wed, 01/12/11 12:44 AM (permalink)
                                                        I used to get both gyros (and souvlaki) and shawarmas when I lived in Brooklyn a few years back - in fact the Greek place and the Lebanese place were across the street from each other.  I think the pink, radish-like condiment on the shawarmas was pickled turnips - doesn't sound good, but they were delicious!  They also sold a roast chicken with a garlic mayonnaise that was just great.  One thing I really miss down here in the 'burbs is the good ethnic foods so easily available in NYC.
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          Georgieporgie

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                                                          Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Fri, 02/18/11 3:10 PM (permalink)
                                                          In Spain Shwarma Kepabs were my saving grace, they were all chicken or lamb though, i love the yogurt sauce!
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            rumaki

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                                                            Re:Shawarma---Middle Eastern "Tacos" at home Fri, 02/18/11 3:47 PM (permalink)
                                                            I'd never even heard of these until I went to Sierra Leone a few years ago for some speaking engagements.  Lots of Lebanese ex-pats there, and they make and sell shawarma.  It's on every menu.
                                                             
                                                            I prefer the chicken ones, myself, but they are all yummy.
                                                             
                                                            #30
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