About Shawarma Chicken

Happy New Year, little chefs! Once again it's time for resolutions, unless you're me of course because I never make resolutions, but I'm trusting that you're not like me because GOOD GOD why would you want that? And I'm trusting that one of your resolutions is probably to eat healthier, and eating healthier probably includes consuming a whole lot of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, and if it does, WHO BOY do I have a tasty one for you.

Today's recipe is inspired by Middle Eastern shawarma, which is like, so good you guys, and so figgin' easy to boot. Pretty much all you need is the marinade and a grill, which is funny because you don't even need a grill when you have a grill pan. Which I do!

So, let's get started. For the marinade, you'll need the following ingredients:
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
which you just mix together in a bowl:

Next to prepare your chicken breasts. You'll notice they're pretty lumpy. Well, if there's one thing I can tell you with any amount of certainty, it's that lumpy breasts do not cook up evenly. So you'll want to de-lumpify them by butterflying the thick part and then smashing it all down with a mallet or the bottom of a small pan or something. (But do it between plastic wrap so you don't get chicken goo everywhere.)

Toss your chicken pieces into your bowl of marinade, cover, and refrigerate it for at least a couple of hours, or overnight if you have the luxury of time.

When you're ready to cook, heat up your grill pan over medium-high heat, then toss on your chicken.

Grill each side for 3-4 minutes, depending on how thick your breasts are (heh). You'll know it's done when you poke at it, and it stops being squishy (but before it turns into shoe leather).

When that's all done, remove the chicken to a cutting board and loosely tent it with aluminum foil while it rests for a few minutes. Now, this part is important: when you cut your breasts into slices, you're going to want to cut them AGAINST THE GRAIN. So in this picture, you'll see that the meat fibers are pointing in a sort of north-westerly direction, and I've sliced the breasts perpendicularly to that grain.

This ensures that your chicken strips will be tender and easy to bite through should you choose to stuff them in a pita with some hummus and lettuce and tomato and maybe some feta and onions, or if you'd rather just throw them on top of a salad.

You know, your choice.


  1. OMG! A new chicken recipe -- I am SO happy about this!! And my whole family loves curry, and also pita sandwiches, even the little guy. This is going to be SUCH a win -- thank you!

  2. you know, the funny thing about this is that the curry flavor really gets muted by the lemon and garlic. and sometimes i like to replace half of the curry powder with cumin and coriander. either way, hope you like it!

  3. This continues to be my favorite blog ever.

  4. I didn't know to cut chicken against the grain. Excellent tip! This looks yummy (and might be the cure for my always-stringy chicken).

  5. same thing goes with all meat; especially skirt steaks for sammies and fajitas!

  6. That thing about cutting against the grain? So helpful. Also, thank you for another chicken recipe! I eat shitloads (yum) of chicken and was getting kind of bored.

  7. Now I'm hungry again.