Shawarma is a sandwich wrap of Middle Eastern origin, usually made out of spit roast shaved meat of beef, lamb, goat, chicken and turkey mixed with tabouli salad and/or fattoush salad, tomatoes and cucumber This is the Middle Eastern counterpart to the ever famous American Burger where its a staple fast-food item not just in those countries but as well as in Europe. Shawarma might look similar to other dishes such as the Greek “gyros”, Armenian “Tarna” or the Turkish “doner kebab”, don’t be puzzled as they are all the same just named in their local languages in which all of it means either “to turn”, “turning” or turned”, just like the meat used in Shawarma is prepared.
The traditional way of preparing this is by placing strips of meat on a standing stick then onions and tomatoes are placed on top of the stack for flavouring. The meat is then slowly roasted on all sides like a vertical rotisserie. Once the top layer is cooked the meat is shaved off and used for the bread, and the cooking continues.
This dish became really popular in the Philippines late 1980’s, every small entrepreneur wants to own a shawarma shop, that’s why you can see a lot of stalls of shawarma during those times and even now you see remnants of those shops. But like the usual craze Pearl Drinks, Billiard Halls, Comedy Bars and Frozen yoghurt it had a short life span and eventually went out of fad late 1990’s. So to relive that moment where I usually queue up hours and hours just for a piece of a wonderful Middle Eastern cuisine I had made this simple recipe which is more suitable for home cooking as I will just use a normal roast beef.
Large Pita Wraps or Flat Bread
1.5 kg boneless rump roast (pick the ones with lots of marbling)
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
6 medium tomatoes, 4 chopped and 2 quartered
4 stalks parsley, chopped
3 large red onion, 2 chopped and 1 quartered (you can use white if red is strong for you)
- Preheat oven at 190C, rest the beef rump in room temperature for an hour before cooking.
- Rub around 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper on the roast. Now place it on an oven rack with the fatty side up then place quartered tomatoes and onions on the top of the roast.
- Now bake for 30 minutes at 190C then lower the heat to 100C and cook for 3 hours.
- Carve the roast into flakes. Then set aside.
- Now to prepare each pita by heating it up in a non stick pan then spreading 2 spoonful of garlic hummus, 1 spoonful of sour cream, and chilli sauce according to your liking in the middle of the bread.
- Add 3 spoonful of the carved meat, then a handful of chopped lettuce, 2 spoonful of chopped tomatoes, 1 spoonful of chopped onions, 4 slices of cucumber and 1 spoonful of chopped parsley.
- Roll the wraps, then serve.