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Authentic Lebanese Chicken Shawarma

Having lived in the middle east for a few years, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the food.  the simplicity of flavors, the sweet and pickle vegetables and that tender meat inside a shawarma.  Shawarmas and Kunafa are my favorite middle eastern foods.  For now, I’ll be sharing the recipe for Shawarma, but don’t worry, the recipe for Kunafa will be added soon too.

This recipe was adapted and adjusted over the years, until it was just right. A perfect shawarma is an orchestra; with a mix of harmonious flavors, then a pop of lemon, or a zing of the chicken, and finally a soothing finish of the garlic sauce.  Perfect harmony.  Well that’s enough about my love for Shawarma, let’s get on with the recipe.

Preparation time 20 minutes

Marination time 3+ hours

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 4-6


Shawarma marinade:1 kg chicken breasts- cut in half horizontally½ cup yogurt1 clove garlic- minced1 Tablespoon ground cumin1 teaspoon cayenne2 teaspoons paprika2 teaspoons salt1 teaspoon black pepper 2 Tablespoons lemon juice 3 Tablespoons olive oil White Garlic sauce:½ cup yogurt½ cup mayonnaise1 clove garlic- minced1 Tablespoon ground coriander1 teaspoon ground cuminA squeeze of lemonA pinch of saltA pinch of pepper


  1. Prepare the chicken marinade.  Combine all the marinade ingredients and mix into the chicken. Make sure all the pieces are well coated.

  2. Marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

  3. Prepare the white garlic sauce: combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk well.  Cover the bowl in clingfilm and refrigerate until ready to use. 

  4. Preheat the oven to 160⁰c. Place a heavy bottom pan on the stove.  Add 3 teaspoons oil and place on a medium heat. 

  5. Place the chicken in the pan and cook each side for 5 minutes. 

  6. Put the chicken and remaining liquids in the pan into a foil bag and seal it shut. 

  7. Bake the chicken for 5 minutes at 160⁰c.   

  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and slice into pieces. 

Assembling a Shawarma:

  1. Heat tortilla/ flatbread on the stove. 

  2. Spread the garlic sauce. 

  3. Add the chicken, pickles, salad and fries (if you prefer to have them inside the shawarma?).

  4. Wrap up tight and serve with more fries and sauce. 

There are a few more dishes you can serve with the shawarma. Be sure to check them out if you are looking to make a proper Arabic feast!

#authenticlebanesechickenshawarma #chickenshawarma #lebanesefood #shawarma

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