Delightful and Healthy Chicken Shawarma Recipe

chicken shawarma recipe
Image courtesy of Chef Alok Kumar, Hotel Jakson Inns Phaltan

Chicken shawarma is a delicacy that can play pivotal role in a heavy breakfast, it can be a much needed evening snack, and it can play important supporting role in lunch and dinner. Shawarma is one of the most popular street food items in Egypt and also in many Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Jordon, Israel, and Turkey.

It is also a popular street food across the Arabian Peninsula. Traditionally shawarma comprises thin slices of meat, stacked in a cone-like shape, and roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit roast. Meat for shawarma can be of lamb, mutton, chicken, turkey, beef and other meats too.

The dish has its origins in the present-day Turkey of the 19th century. Then Turkey was part of the Ottoman Empire. Shawarma is generally served in the form of sandwich or wrap. It is wrapped within flatbreads such as pita or laffa. Garlic sauce and pickles are appetizing accompaniments with chicken shawarma.

Today chicken shawarma is also very much popular in India’s food service industry. Chicken shawarma is enjoyed in India by wrapping the shawarma chicken in an Indian bread called parantha. The parantha used to wrapchicken shawarma is generally made of all-purpose flour, which is known as maida in Hindi and Bengali.

The taste and aroma of chicken shawarma has made considerable influence in the US too. In fact, shawarma is one of the very popular Middle Eastern dishes in the US.

Now the question how to make chicken shawarma must be emerging in many of your minds. As usual, the question how to make chicken shawarma can find its effective answer in a nice and intelligently made chicken shawarma recipe.

The question whether your chicken shawarma is a product of traditional chicken shawarma recipe or original chicken shawarma recipe should not be of much concern to you as what is traditional or original in the realm of food is often open to endless debate and often requires detailed journey into food history. You should not go into that but try to come up with your best chicken shawarma recipe.

To inspire you in your endeavor let us introduce you all to a recipe by an expert Chef from another part of the world…yes you have guessed it right, from India.

The chicken shawarma recipe presented here is a simple chicken shawarma recipe which would neither need much time nor rare ingredients. This easy chicken shawarma recipe can help you create a delightful dish of chicken shawarma, which has high potential to entice the palate of you and your loved ones.

Chicken Shawarma Recipe by Alok Kumar, Chef de Partie, Hotel Jakson Inns Phaltan


  • 2lb /1 kg chicken thigh fillets, skinless and boneless

For Marination: 

  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Some black pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Ingredients for Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper


  • Combine all the marinade ingredients except the chicken in a large ziplock bag (or bowl).
  • Add the chicken and use your hands to make sure each piece is coated with marinade. If using a ziplock bag, I find it convenient to close the bag then massage the bag to disperse the rub all over each chicken piece.
  • Marinate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  • Now combine the yoghurt sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix. Cover and put in the fridge until required (it will last for 3 days in the fridge).
  • Heat grill/BBQ (or a large heavy based pan on stove) on medium high. You should not need to oil it because the marinade has oil in it and also thigh fillets have fat. But if you are worried then oil your hotplate/grill.
  • Place chicken on the grill and cook the first side for 4 to 5 minutes until nicely charred, then turn and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes (the second side takes less time).
  •  Remove chicken from the grill and cover loosely with foil. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.


What is chicken shawarma made of?

It is made of chicken pieces, of course. But to make a great chicken shawarma you would need the infusion of several spices such as garlic, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cayenne pepper among others.  You would also need yoghurt sauce to add to the taste. One can insert some thin slices of tomato, cucumber, onion, etc. with chicken shawarma in the wrap of flatbread or parantha to enjoy or serve.

What comes in a shawarma?

Meat for shawarma can be of lamb, mutton, chicken, turkey, beef and other meats too. Shawarma is generally prepared from thin cuts of seasoned marinated lamb, mutton, chicken, beef or turkey. 

Are shawarmas healthy?

Shawarma is a nutritious and healthy dish with good amount of protein in it unless you add too much sauce or dressing. The dish tends to be healthier if made at home rather than in a street side stall.

Is shawarma good for keto diet?

Chicken shawarma can be enjoyed with very little carbohydrate and thus can be easily partaken as a keto diet. One of the intelligent ways to reduce the carbohydrate intake from chicken shawarma is to do away with the bread and enjoy the dish with some green salads instead.