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Hello all,

My first experience with sharwarma was in Moscow, Russia.  I have been attempting to make it for years now with out actually using a vertical cooker.  My last try I used smoked chicken thighs and it turned out quite good actually.  My problem is still the sauce.  It seems in the USA and online it is only a tahini yogurt sauce or a tzatziki sauce that is called for and used in shawarmas.  In Russia it was always a white sauce, a greenish sauce and a red sauce.  I cant seem to find any mention of this anywhere online.  Does any one know what I am talking about? And have a name for these sauces.

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I think of shawarma (other spellings around here include shwarma, schwarma, or even shwerma as I first heard it called) as being a Middle Eastern food, so it's interesting to think that there might be Russian variations on the sauces. I shouldn't be surprised, though. If you check out this topic on Shawarma you'll find a lot of argument discussion about the proper ingredients and it's clear there are regional variations. You may find something there that sounds like what you remember. Don't be shy about resurrecting that old topic!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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2 hours ago, southernsmoker said:

Hello all,

My first experience with sharwarma was in Moscow, Russia.  I have been attempting to make it for years now with out actually using a vertical cooker.  My last try I used smoked chicken thighs and it turned out quite good actually.  My problem is still the sauce.  It seems in the USA and online it is only a tahini yogurt sauce or a tzatziki sauce that is called for and used in shawarmas.  In Russia it was always a white sauce, a greenish sauce and a red sauce.  I cant seem to find any mention of this anywhere online.  Does any one know what I am talking about? And have a name for these sauces.

 

I forgot to ask: can you remember any of the flavor or texture notes? For instance, was the red sauce smooth or chunky, tomatoish or hot like a chili sauce or not like either of them? Could the white sauce have been the classic tzadziki, or was it something different? 

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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49 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

I forgot to ask: can you remember any of the flavor or texture notes? For instance, was the red sauce smooth or chunky, tomatoish or hot like a chili sauce or not like either of them? Could the white sauce have been the classic tzadziki, or was it something different? 

It wasn't tzadziki.  The greenish sauce was a little chunky. the white and red were smooth.  None of them where spicy I would remember that.  It was 13 years ago so my memory on flavor isnt great.

16 minutes ago, scamhi said:

try this Lebanese garlic sauce for shwarma

https://dinnerthendessert.com/zankou-chickens-secret-garlic-paste/

I will give this a shot next time thank you.

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What a wonderful question!    The OP looks to recreate a sauce he enjoyed in Moscow.    I would love to hear the (many varied) shawarma sauce memories or recommendations of eGers.    What a panoply of white sauces!  

eGullet member #80.

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OK, in the Arab Levant at least, there are two sauces for shawarma.

 

Red meat gets "tarator" which is a sauce made of tahina, lemon, garlic, salt, and water

Chicken gets "toum" which is sort of like aïoli - garlic, lemon, salt, and oil drizzled slowly in while blitzing until a mayo-like consistency is achieved. 

 

These two sauces are borderline canonical and I have never heard of anything else being used. Tarator is also used for falafel, by the way.

 

The yogurt cucumber thing is known as cacık in Turkish, whence Greek "tzatziki" (pronounced jajiki), and Iraqi Arabic "jajeek". In Levantine Arabic it's simply known as "laban w khyar" (yogurt and cucumber), much like Persian maast o khiaar, with the same meaning. It's consumed as a dip/salad, not as a sauce on meaty things.

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