If I had to rank my favorite ethnic cuisines, “Mediterranean” would be at the top of the list. (Technically, it would tie for first with Greek food, but since Greece is on the Mediterranean, I let it slide.) And when I don’t have the time to make Stuffed Grape Leaves, this Chicken Shawarma does the trick.
(Psst…you wanna know what makes it even better? My 1-year-old daughter LOVES IT.)
Start off by mixing your spices in a bowl and topping them off with a good glug of olive oil.
Next, cut your chicken into pieces—strips, chunks, whatever—and toss them in the spice mixture until they’re fully coated.
Please, please, for the love of everything holy, use chicken thighs if you can! Chicken breasts don’t have as much fat, but they don’t have as much flavor, either. If you absolutely must cut down on some of the delicious, delicious calories, use a mixture of chicken breasts and thighs.
And if you can let the chicken marinate a little before cooking it, all the better. I usually do this step during my daughter’s afternoon nap and let the chicken marinate in the fridge until dinner time.
When you’re ready to start cooking, lay the pieces out on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. (The chicken won’t stick, so you can leave off the foil if you like.) Preheat your oven to 400 and get a pot of rice going. By the time the water is boiling, your oven should be preheated. Stick these bad boys in and set a timer for 15 minutes.
Cut up 1-1.5 lbs. of zucchini and saute in a nonstick skillet. No, you don’t have to use zucchini. But you should.
Stir ’em up until nice and brown (or at least cooked through; I cannot for the life of me get my zucchini to brown) and set aside.
Once the chicken is done, dump it all into the same skillet you used to cook the zucchini and give it a little color. I always use my spoon to “chop” it up into even smaller pieces (and also to make extra doubly sure that the chicken is cooked through. It always is.).
Once you’re satisfied with your chicken’s level o’ char, throw it on top of the zucchini. (If your zucchini has gotten a little cold, you can throw it back in with the chicken to warm it up a bit.) Your rice should be done by this point. Serve it all up!
I am 100% not exaggerating when I say that Bear gave an audible gasp when I put this on her tray. She then proceeded to demolish everything.
Here’s the full recipe for just the chicken:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in pieces (about 2-3 thighs)
1 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. curry powder*
1 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. cinnamon (trust me!)
Pinch of cayenne or chili powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Marinate all ingredients together, adding enough olive oil to saturate the chicken. Place chicken on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Next, saute chicken in 2 Tbsp. olive oil until dark golden brown. Serve with zucchini and rice.
* The recipe I adapted this from called for turmeric, but since I didn’t have it, I substituted this.