Chicken Shawerma with rice & spicy sumac roasted potatoes

The most spiritual and exciting time for Muslims all over the world is upon us. As the holy month of Ramadan begins, I wish you all the strength and courage to face all the challenges of life. This year Ramadan will be very different. Covid_19 has forced us to stay at home instead of celebrating in mosques and at each other’s homes. In this time of distancing and separation, let’s take heart in what connects us all – our faith in humanity & love, our families and our shared passion for cooking and eating delicious foods.

That’s why I’m thrilled to share with you my most amazing, mouth-watering delicious and easy recipe of Chicken Shawerma! Any one who grew up in the Middle-East has a love for Chicken Shawerma that knows no bounds! In Saudi Arabia, one of my most cherished childhood memory is eating a delicious SR 2 Shawerma while drinking ice cold soft drink! Aaahhhhhh!! The amazing Shawerma would be smothered in tahini and garlic sauce, filled with deliciously juicy, charred chicken, french fries and pickled cucumbers! Yummmmmmm!!

Nothing can bring back those precious days but I have recreated the flavor of that Shawerma! You can serve it rolled in pita the traditional way or if you want it to be more filling, then with aromatic, tasty rice. Instead of using store bought fries, I have made these delicious spicy sumac roasted fries and trust me, these are SO GOOD & ADDICTIVE!

So let’s get into the recipe!

Chicken Shawerma

Recipe by Leena Ali

Serves: 4-5


  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp tomatoes crushed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Cut washed and dried boneless chicken thighs horizontally into thinner cuts of about 1/2 inch.
  • In a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.
  • Apply this mixture to the chicken and mix well. Cover and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  • When ready to cook, heat a grill pan/fry pan on medium-heat till hot. Sear the chicken pieces till nice and brown on both sides.
  • Add in the leftover marinade and cover. Cook well.
  • As the marinade and water dries up, shred the chicken as thinly as possible with your spoon.
  • Chicken Shawerma is ready! You can wrap it into a pita bread to make Shawerma sandwiches or serve family style like I did.

Aromatic rice


  • Basmati rice – 1.5 cups
  • Cumin seeds – 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  • Salt – 2 tbsp
  • Chicken stock or water – 3 cups
  • Oil – 2 tbsp


  • Wash and soak the basmati rice for atleast 15-30 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle for a few seconds.
  • Drain the rice and add in the oil. Add in the turmeric powder. Mix well.
  • Pour in the chicken stock or water. Add in salt and check whether it’s enough or not.
  • Cover and let the water boil on medium heat. Once the water has boiled, turn down the heat to low and let the rice absorb the water. This will take atleast 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.

Spicy sumac roasted potatoes


  • 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Sumac – 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 2 tsp or to taste
  • Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Chopped parsley – 2 tbsp


  • Heat oven to 425F.
  • Combine the potatoes with all the ingredients above. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Spread the potato wedges evenly on a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes till the wedges are nice and crispy. Turn them over in the middle of baking.

Delicious Garlic Tahini sauce

Makes 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 cup of tahini paste (sesame paste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of yoghurt


In a bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt and process on low speed for 2-3 minutes or until thoroughly incorporated. Turn the speed to high and blend until the mixture begins to whiten. Add in 1/4 cup of water and keep processing. Add in yoghurt and pulse until smooth to make a delicious sauce to drizzle over the Chicken Shawerma.

The recipes of my Hummus, Cheese sambousek and Rose Muhallabiya are in separate blog posts. Do check them out!

I hope you enjoy making this chicken Shawerma and give it a permanent spot in your family dishes. Please share with me your dishes by messaging me the picture here, on email or Instagram! Would love to see them!

May this special month bring along eternal happiness, success, and glory for you and your loved ones. Always remember me and my family in your prayers.

Ramadan Mubarak! 🌙

With love,

Leena 💖

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Absolutely amazing! Even more delicious than it looks in the pictures 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leena says:

      Thank you! 😘


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