Last week I brought you all on a little trip to Japan. This week? We are heading to the Mediterranean. Grab your sun hats.
Does anyone else equate chicken shawarma with late nights (and a few too many consumed beverages)? Just me? Alright. Well that’s how we tend to finish our pub nights up here in my neck of the woods. Toronto is brimming with falafel and shawarma stands and it is probably the least expensive thing you can find. Especially after a night of dancing, boyyyyy does it hit the spot.
Before I started eating meat just a couple of years ago, I had never had Chicken Shawarma. It was all falafel wraps for this girl. To this day, falafel is still my favorite fast food dinner.
However, when I finally tried a Chicken Shawarma Wrap, I realized I had been slightly missing out.
Now. There is some confusion that lies with the origin of the shawarma and falafel. To some they are merely considered “Mediterranean” cuisine, however, this term covers a very large amount of countries and cultures. I’ve been asking the question, “but what is it considered, exactly??” for years. So it was time I finally settled this for myself.
Chicken Shawarma is in fact an Arabic food, originating from Turkey. Falafel, on the other hand, seems to stir up slightly more controversy. Some say it originated in Egypt, however it is now known to be the national dish of Palastine and Israel as well. Apparently there are some pretty epic falafel debates out there…… (chick pea food fight??)
Regardless, I think we are safe to just slot them both under “Middle Eastern,” and call it a day.
But I digress! We aren’t here to talk about falafel anyways!
The thing about proper chicken shawarma is that it is really all about the marinating process. Lamb, beef, chicken or fish gets married for at least one-two full days on a large vertical rotisserie. Ain’t no one got time for that!
The other traditional element is the specific use of spices. When researching the most common Middle Eastern spices, I was surprised at what I found! Allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom were all up there, alongside the more expected cumin, parsley and turmeric.
So what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t want to go out and find a greasy shawarma stand but is craving all the flavor of her favorite late night take out? Create her own! And why not make it ridiculously healthy and plop it all into a beautiful bowl while she’s at it? #lovebowls
I was so excited about this bowl guys. It really comes down to the epic shawarma sauce and super easy marinade. I tried a few different combinations of spices before coming to what I think hit the spot. To get the same creaminess that usually oozes out of the pita wrap, I made the sauce using greek yogurt. It was a perfect choice. Creamy and BURSTING with flavor.
The best thing about turning your favorite wrap into a bowl is the ability to make it however you wish! There are so many options. I have made a few, but have settled on my two favorites.
I made my first bowl using rice as the base, the second with mashed sweet potato. I must say – without bias – the sweet potato bowl rose to the top.
Each bowl was then filled with similar ingredients – all reminiscent of what you would find in a shawarma pita. Tomato, red onion, cucumber, roasted beets and sauerkraut. You really need that “pickled” flavor somewhere in there, so if you didn’t have time to pickle your own onions or beets, adding sauerkraut will kindly take care of that for you.
If you are a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/Isreali/Palestine/Arabic cuisine fan as I am (really hoping to not step on any toes here), I urge you to give this super simple, elegant and delicious bowl a try! Customize it as you wish. Just don’t forget the sauce!I've got your Shawarma cravings covered with this beautiful, healthy and customizable Shawarma Bowl: Two Ways to enjoy! Click To Tweet