Tonight, thanks largely to canarygirl’s inspiration, I decided to try my hand at chicken shawarma. It’s funny that I have not experimented too much with Lebanese cuisine, because it is very similar to Greek. And, where I am from originally (Dearborn, MI not Greece, hah) has the second largest population of Lebanese folks outside of the Middle East, so I grew up eating tons of tasty, authentic Middle Eastern foods. I guess I was partly intimidated to try making it for that reason.
So, tonight I made chicken shawarma, Jerusalem salad, and some rice pilaf with toasted almonds. I think the shawarma turned out GREAT but I wasn’t terribly thrilled with my tahini sauce for the pita/salad. This is the second time I have tried making tahini and it was just kind of “eh” both times. The funny thing is the only ingredients are tahini, garlic, lemon juice and water. But I just couldn’t get the taste I wanted. Oh well. If anyone has a foolproof recipe, please send it my way! (Update: I figured it out! :)) I actually added a tablespoon of yogurt at the end, which helped and made it a little creamier, but it was still a little too tahini-y for my tastes.
You’ll also have to excuse the pictures as I was taking pics here and there but when it came time to taking the whole meal, my batteries died.
Pilaf with toasted almonds
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finally diced onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup rice
1/4 cup vermicelli or spaghetti broken into pieces
2 cups chicken broth (or however much liquid your brand of rice calls for)
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds [toast in a dry skillet over medium heat or in a 375* oven for 5-10 minutes]
ground cinnamon (optional)
Heat saucepan and add butter and oil, until combined. Add onion and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds before adding rice and vermicelli. Toast until spaghetti turns a golden brown color.
Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook unti done. Stir in toasted almonds. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
As far as the Jerusalem salad is concerned (this is just diced tomatoes and cucumbers mixed with tahini sauce and topped with parsley) my tahini sauce was something like…
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon yogurt
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients but water and oil. Add water slowly to desired consistency. Drizzle in EVOO.
Like I said, it was OK, not great. But maybe someone will experiment with it and give me the winning tahini recipe. :)