Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Doner Kebab/Chicken Shawarma Experiment Turned Lovechild.

How did I survive before Chicken Shawarma finally made it to Chennai?

Incidentally, how did I survive before Sub of The Day existed? Or Subway? I know they've pulled the offer; and it's thoroughly depressing.

Everything comes late to Madras, thanks to honcho-types firmly believing in the penny-pinching cliche of Tamilians. Cliche is not uncalled for, since Mum nearly goes into Kussmaul's breathing when she finds out how much fancy things like Callebaut gelato or a pint of Haagen-Dazs costs; and I always tell her only half of what it actually did.

What I meant by things coming late: KFC, Mocha, Costa, Starbucks and the like. Extremely annoying, except maybe when I have to pour/squeeze/pull/push/shimmy/wriggle into skinny jeans.

Along the way, I've learned to make most of the things these places have to offer. Breaded Chicken (way better than KFC's), Momofuku's Crack Pie (I've no clue about the original, but it'll be interesting to find out) and Magnolia Bakery's Cupcakes (Ditto).
Chicken Shawarma, I learnt to make quite recently. I'm sure you think there is no reason for you to attempt these, when there's a stall within 200 metres of your home.

I'd like to insist (very politely) that you try. You can control the spice mix, the moistness of the chicken, the crispness of the potato wedges, the fluffiness of the pita and instead of a gloopy mayonnaise, you can make your own garlic-scented tahini and yogurt sauce. Instead of a garden variety chicken-and-mayo roll (which at Rs. 50, is still ah-mazing). And it's supremely easy and takes up only one bowl (each).

This is one of the dishes that redeemed my savoury-cooking skills at home. I had to search high and low for the recipes of each of the components, and I am in love with all of them. The chicken part is from a Dubai-based site, so that comes with a Bonafide attestation. I added some garlicky fries, some tahini and shawarma pickles, because I'm a big believer of foodgasms.

I'm also going to try something new. I'll put up all the pictures and basic recipe details first, and a detailed and uninterrupted recipe below. Let me know if you like it!

Start off with the best spices you can find.

Pound the elaichi/cardamom pods, grind the cinnamon sticks, make your garam masala, whatever it takes.

Taste the marinade before the meat goes in and adjust, if necessary!

Marinate the chicken for at least an hour. Cover with cling film or some random lid and pop it into the refrigerator, if you live in a hot place like Madras!

Cook the chicken in all of the marinade over low heat, breaking it up as you go.

For the fries:

Refer to this post. And try parboiling, instead of microwaving... it makes a world of difference.

For the tahini-yogurt sauce:

Make a not pretty (but deelishus) batch of tahini.

Add lemon juice, salt and yogurt, playing by tongue and eye.

Use thick, preferably hung or Greek yogurt, for this sauce. You can make a regular yogurt sauce.

For the pita:

Make wholewheat pitas or buy the fluffiest, grainiest piece of pita bread in your city.

For the shawarma pickles:

Recipe coming soon! I don't give everything away on the first date. You can skip this step and add a couple of more drops of Tabasco, to spice it up.

Assembling these babies:

Get all of you stuff on one table and gather the people around it.

Slick the tahina-sauce on the pita.

Add chunks of cooked chicken.

Add the lettuce, pomegranate seeds, onions, tomatoes, shawama pickles and fries.

Splash on some tabasco, wrap it up and CHARGE!

Doner kebab/Chicken Shawarma Lovechild:

(marinade recipe from Sips and Spoonfuls)Ingredients:

For the chicken shawarma marinade:
500 gms boneless chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup thick yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cardamom pod powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Salt to taste
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala
3 tsps ginger-garlic paste

For the tahini-yogurt sauce:

1/2 cup white sesame seeds
3 tbsps Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Greek/hung/full-fat yogurt
2 plump cloves of garlic
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

To serve:

1 batch of Garlicky baked fries
8 wholewheat pita bread (1 batch of this recipe)
1 cup iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1 cup tomato, chopped
Pomegranate seeds.
Shawarma pickles.
Chopped coriander and mint leaves-plenty.
Tabasco, as needed.


For the chicken:

Marinate the chicken pieces in the marinade ingredients for at least an hour.

In a non-stick pan (no need to grease), over medium-low heat, cook the chicken for about 10 minutes. The marinade should have dried and the chicken should be moist and tender. Break up the chicken as it cooks.

Keep aside.

For the tahina sauce:

Roast the sesame seeds over low heat until it turns a pale shade of brown and pops. Take it off the pan in which it is heated, or it will continue to cook in the residual heat and burn.

Once cooled, grind the seeds to paste in a mixie/food processor. Add in the garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice and blitz until a nice paste is formed.

Add in the yogurt, and adjust the salt as per taste.

To assemble:

Heat the pita over a non-greased tawa for around 10 seconds on both sides, on medium heat.

Spread the tahina sauce on it.

Add the chicken, fries, pickles, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pomegranate, herbs, tabasco as per each diner's choice.

Serve immediately.

Store each of the components separately, closed in the refrigerator.

I didn't bother with that, because there was enough left over for one tiny roll.

A midnight-snack-portion roll. As my own personal toast to the amazing Nigella Lawson. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. http://bitejunket.blogspot.in/2013/02/late-night-eats-kebabs-shawarma-and.html?showComment=1430466017444