Those of us living in the Detroit area are blessed to have an abundance of Middle Eastern restaurants. One of the best sandwiches to pick up is chicken shawarma - savory chicken wrapped in a pita and slathered with garlic sauce. (It also usually contains a pickle, which I remove - not a pickle fan!) Over the years, I have tried a number of chicken recipes to try to duplicate that flavor, but none that really captured it. Until now. Thank you Detroit Free Press Test Kitchen for this recipe!
Ok, you will want to bookmark, pin, save this recipe! Trust me! This is the best recipe I have ever found for grilled chicken. It is the perfect mix of savory and tangy and the yogurt helps to keep the chicken moist. The chicken is awesome wrapped in a pita, but also works great in salads, pastas, or on its own.
Grilled Chicken Shawarma
¼ cup lemon juice (use fresh, about 2 lemons)
¼ cup canola oil (a light flavored olive oil would also work)
1 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage non-fat Greek yogurt)
3 tablespoons white vinegar
4 crushed garlic cloves (ok, I confess, I used 4 teaspoons of that chopped garlic from a jar, worked fine!)
1 teaspoon salt (you might want a tad less, but I liked the slight salty flavor)
Put all ingredients in a bowl and blend together with a whisk.
Chicken: use 2 pounds of boneless chicken breast, cut into strips. I did only 8 strips of chicken and wish I had done more because there was plenty of marinade.
Marinate chicken for 4 - 6 hours in the refrigerator, turning several times. (I put it all in a covered glass dish, but putting it all in a zip lock bag would work, too.)
The marinade is this wonderful amber color!
Grill over medium heat. If you don't feel like heating up the grill outside, use a Foreman grill. I'm sure it would work to brown in a non-stick pan on your stove in a bit of olive oil.
Serve wrapped in pita if you wish, or however you want!
The Free Press link above also has a recipe for garlic yogurt sauce, which is another recipe that I have been trying to perfect for years with no success. I tried it, found it was too salty and the garlic had too much bite. I am trying some variations and some hints to eliminate the bit from the garlic (removing the green core is one hint I found). I love a good garlic sauce, so will let you know if I figure it out. If you have the secret, let me know!