Didn’t want anything too heavy on Sunday so instead of the usual Sunday roast we decided to have a fake-away. Went with our favourite Mediterranean/North African flavours.
Keto Chicken Shawarma with Tzatziki and Sesame Flatbreads
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp all spice
1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper, according to taste
1 tsp salt
500g/1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1.5cm/1/2” strips
2 tbsp vegetable oil
In a small bowl mix all the spice ingredients together
Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag.
Add the oil, seal the bag and toss the chicken in the oil so all pieces are coated.
Sprinkle half the spice mix over chicken, seal bag again and toss and massage into the chicken, repeat with the rest of the spice mix.
Put bag in the fridge for 1 – 24 hours. (I usually do this in the morning for an evening meal). Remove from fridge 1 hour before cooking to bring to room temperature.
Air fryer method
Place strips in air fryer basket, you will need to do this in batches.
Set air fryer to 180c/350f and cook for 15-20 mins, internal temperature should be 72c/165f.
Place strips on a rack on a baking tray
Preheat oven to 180c/350f and cook for 15 – 20 mins.
Cut thighs into 2 or 3 pieces according to size
Grill for 10 mins on each side
500g tub of Greek yogurt
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tahini (sesame paste) – optional, traditionally not used but makes tzatziki more robust and creamy.
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed and finely chopped
In a bowl mix together yogurt and tahini until fully combined.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and combine well.
Cover and chill.
The true origin of the shawarma remains unclear, the tasty dish has been described as part of traditional Levantine cuisine, which is popular in a region encompassing areas in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Regional variations of the shawarma exist but the basic elements are there. In fact, culinary iterations or similar versions of the shawarma can be found not only in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, but in regions such as Northern Africa. In Greece, they have the gyro. And in Turkey, they have the doner kebab. Both dishes involve a similar spit grilling process.
The dish may have gained popularity throughout the region through the influence and spread of the Turkish-Ottoman empire. In fact, the word shawarma was said to have originated from the Turkish word “çevirme”, which describes the turning process of cooking the meat. This method of grilling, which is still used today, involves placing the cone-shaped slab of meat on a horizontal or vertical spit to be cooked for hours over hot coals or firewood. The axial rotation ensures that the meat is equally cooked on all sides.