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rajsuman

Shawarma

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I've never tried a Lebanese version. In my part of town the Armenians seem to have the stronghold on Shewarma places. Now that I think about it I'm almost sure they add vinegar to the marinade. It gives the meat a tang that I didn't find in the Turkish places in France. The Armenians in Los Angeles also use beef and chicken (I don't know if the beef is "traditional" or more to cater to American tastes). The beef also seems to processed in some way, more than ground, it's more like pureed and molded. Anyone familiar with this? The texture is not quite as dense as the commercial produced Greek gyros.

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I've never tried a Lebanese version. In my part of town the Armenians seem to have the stronghold on Shewarma places. Now that I think about it I'm almost sure they add vinegar to the marinade. It gives the meat a tang that I didn't find in the Turkish places in France. The Armenians in Los Angeles also use beef and chicken (I don't know if the beef is "traditional" or more to cater to American tastes). The beef also seems to processed in some way, more than ground, it's more like pureed and molded. Anyone familiar with this? The texture is not quite as dense as the commercial produced Greek gyros.

I Lebanon, I never saw shawrama where beef/lamb is pureed and molded :shock:. The first time I encountered this is when I visited Cyprus, and then of course in the US at Greek restaurants.

Chef- do they also call it Shawarma at those Armenian places where the meat is pureed? Maybe it is an Armenian variation, who knows.

Elie

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Yes, it's called Shawarma, Shewerma, Shewarma (there seems to be no consensus on the English spelling amongst the Armenians). And it's the shawarma that mosts Los Angelenos seem to be familliar with.

Zankou Chicken is an Armenian chain that serves shawarma as well.

http://www.zankouchicken.com

EDIT: The pureed and molded style took me back abit. But I got used to it since there's not much else conveniently available around here.


Edited by chefzadi (log)

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From zankou chicken's website they define Shawarma as :

SHAWERMA

Marinated and spiced slices of Beef stacked on a spit and grilled against an open fire. 

At least they seem to make it with slices not ground meat :smile: .

Elie

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Okay Zankou chicken's website claims that there beef for shawerma is sliced. I had it there once, but the portions were way to small for me. It's this other Armenian place called sevan chicken that does the molded shawerma, it's this molded stuff I see at alot of places in LA.

EDIT: Foodman you are FAST! :laugh:


Edited by chefzadi (log)

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Chefzadi - some of the armenian shawarmas you have seen in LA may have been (armenian) lebanese shawarma (so lebanese shawarma period). If it looks processed though, then it it definitely not lebanese as Foodman suggested. Check this out.

I was wondering why their menu looked awefully lebanese to me :raz:

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You're right Zeitoun. Alot of the Armenians in Los Angeles are Armenian plus another Middle Eastern country (Lebanon, Syria and Iran seem to be the most common), some Armenian-Russians too.

So it's an Armenian family from Lebanon. Zankou chicken has quite a following. The place has a steady flow of customers all day and gets packed during peak hours. They come mostly for the chicken, but the other items sell well too.

Is the garlic sauce for the chicken Lebanese or Armenian? Also in Lebanon is chicken or beef shawerma very common?

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You're right Zeitoun. Alot of the Armenians in Los Angeles are Armenian plus another Middle Eastern country (Lebanon, Syria and Iran seem to be the most common), some Armenian-Russians too.

So it's an Armenian family from Lebanon. Zankou chicken has quite a following. The place has a steady flow of customers all day and gets packed during peak hours. They come mostly for the chicken, but the other items sell well too.

Is the garlic sauce for the chicken Lebanese or Armenian? Also in Lebanon is chicken or beef shawerma very common?

Garlic and Lebanon is like a very old love affair!!!! So it might very well be Lebanese. As for your second question, i am not too sure about in Lebanon itself, chicken i know is very common, beef i think is mixed with lamb but again, i wouldn't be the right person to answer that question.

Like you, i grew up in France most, if not all, of my life (i am still not sure if that makes me a beurre?). The little time i spent in lebanon was on occasional vacations during the summer time. Foodman would probably know this better than I do.

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I googled and dogpiled some Lebanese garlic sauce preparations. Most have fresh garlic, lemon juice and olive oil or mayonaisse.

The garlic sauces I tried at the Armenian places (I'm guessing about the ingredients-

Version 1: Butter, margarine, fresh garlic, garlic powder, lemon juice and lemon salt.

Version 2: fresh garlic and thinned down tahini.

There's a Lebanese marinade for shawarma here (vinegar of course)

http://www.student.virginia.edu/~arabweb/recipes.html

along with a few other specialties.

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I googled and dogpiled some Lebanese garlic sauce preparations. Most have fresh garlic, lemon juice and olive oil or mayonaisse.

The garlic sauces I tried at the Armenian places (I'm guessing about the ingredients-

Version 1: Butter, margarine, fresh garlic, garlic powder, lemon juice and lemon salt.

Version 2: fresh garlic and thinned down tahini.

Pureed raw garlic alone remains the most common form of "garlic sauce" in Lebanese cooking. It is a garlic spread more than anything else and an essential ingredient in sandwiches for instance.

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I would say that both Chicken and beef/lamb are very common in Lebanon. I hesitate to say that chicken is the more popular one now, but it sure seems like it.

I even think that the chicken Shawarma is a recent addition, I could've swon until the mid eighties only the beef/lamb combination was known as Shawarma. Then chicken showed up and I remember the first time my dad bought us these sandwiches I thought it was the best thing since pita bread :smile:.

As for the garlic sauce, my class in eGCI has a couple of recipes for it. It is THE sauce in any sandwich with chicken and most other meats. My favorite is basically garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt blended to a smooth paste or pounded in a pestle (or is it mortar?). It is never just raw garlic alone.

Elie

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the pestle is the thing you mash or grind with and the mortar is the vessel you commit such actions in.

I've seen some chicken shawerma tacos on the menu at some of the Armenian places. Basically it's a shawerma sandwich on a small flour tortilla. Go figure, perhaps trying to a target a new customer base.

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When Melkor made the shawarma, I made baba ghanoush, hummus, and tahini sauce (thinned tahini with garlic, lemon juice, and salt). I thought the tahini sauce was the best accompaniment for the shawarma, while the other two were more like sides.

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When Melkor made the shawarma, I made baba ghanoush, hummus, and tahini sauce (thinned tahini with garlic, lemon juice, and salt). I thought the tahini sauce was the best accompaniment for the shawarma, while the other two were more like sides.

you are correct MsMelkor. For the lamb one Tahini is the traditonal sauce. Here are the typical ingredients in a Shawarma pita wrap if you order it in Lebanon:

Beef/lamb: Tahini sauce (taratoor), tomatoes, pickled turnip slices, pickled cucumber slices, sliced onions, chopped parsley.

Chicken: Garlic sauce, french fries, pickled cucumber slices, shredded lettuce.

Elie

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I would say that both Chicken and beef/lamb are very common in Lebanon. I hesitate to say that chicken is the more popular one now, but it sure seems like it.

I even think that the chicken Shawarma is a recent addition, I could've swon until the mid eighties only the beef/lamb combination was known as Shawarma. Then chicken showed up and I remember the first time my dad bought us these sandwiches I thought it was the best thing since pita bread :smile:.

As for the garlic sauce, my class in eGCI has a couple of recipes for it. It is THE sauce in any sandwich with chicken and most other meats. My favorite is basically garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt blended to a smooth paste or pounded in a pestle (or is it mortar?). It is never just raw garlic alone.

Elie

My mistake, you're correct. Olive oil or lemon is always added and that's what gives it much of that creamy consistency. My grandmother used to put potatoes in hers which I did not particularly like by the way.

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Yeah the addition of boiled potato made it into my grandmother's garlic sauce that she served with grilled chicken as well. The it was promptly removed because it alters the garlic flavor. See we want pure garlic and nothing to reduce it's pungency :smile:.

Elie

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Yeah the addition of boiled potato made it into my grandmother's garlic sauce that she served with grilled chicken as well. The it was promptly removed because it alters the garlic flavor. See we want pure garlic and nothing to reduce it's pungency :smile:.

Yes indeed!! :raz:

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I don't think people realize how extreme the love of garlic is over there. One time we were cleaning my brother's room (he was about 5) and we found a bunch of garlic peels in his nightstand drawer. It turned out he was stealing heads of garlic for midnight snacks.

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That's a pretty funny story..

One time my brother (he was about 35) ate a whole plate of garlic sauce with nothing more than bread to dip in. He reeked so much of garlic that his wife made him crash on the living room sofa. He was allowed back in the conjugal bed one week later.

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That's a pretty funny story..

One time my brother (he was about 35) ate a whole plate of garlic sauce with nothing more than bread to dip in. He reeked so much of garlic that his wife made him crash on the living room sofa.  He was allowed back in the conjugal bed one week later.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

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Well...it has happened. The end of the world MUST be nearng rather rapidly - McDonald's has added McShwarma to its menus in Israel. As much as I try to avoid McDonald's my critic's conscience took me there to sample this new fare. Here is the review I wrote and which appeared in HaAretz (Hebrew) on 10 Feb 05 and in the International Herald Tribune on 11 Feb 05

Food, Politics and Mediocre Shwarma

For many years a growing number of people have came to dislike McDonalds not only because of the quality of the food served there but because together with Coca Cola the company had come to represent the process of globalization or, if one prefers, the introduction and imposition of American foods to the entire world. One can hardly say that McDonalds has seen the error of their ways but in a move to maximize profits while simultaneously pacifying various local populations, this now huge multinational corporation has given us a new word on which to ponder – "glocalization"- a play on words combining "global" and "local" in which although McDonalds remains the king, local tastes are being pandered to on a rather regular basis.

In Finland, for example, where black and fiber rich rye bread is often the bread of choice, McDonalds has introduced McRuis , a burger served on a dark rye roll. In India, where the consumption of beef is anathema to many, instead of the Big Mac the company has introduced the Maharaja Mac in which the meat involved is mutton, and in the Netherlands we now have the McKroket, in which the burger patties are made of beef ragout that is pressed together than then oated with bread crumbs. Well, we Israelis must be coming up in the world for not too long ago, with what one must admit were television adds that made almost everyone smile, the local branches of McDonalds have given us McShwarma.

I could think of no place more appropriate to try McShwarma than at Dizengoff Center and once I had made my way there, like the well-behaved adult I pride myself on being, I took my place on a rather long line and when my turn came ordered and paid for my McShwarma, chips and Coke. Rather than being tucked into a pita, the shwarma meat had been folded into a flat, rather tough pita-like bread together with sliced tomatoes, pickles a bit of lettuce, something said to be tchina, and what I was told was to be a hot sauce. As hard as I tried, I could see no vertical spit on which the shwarma was cooking and was informed that at McDonalds the meat is brought to the branches partly precooked, fully sliced and frozen to be reheated by frying. If that was not enough to make me sigh, the meat used (I should have guessed this in advance) was neither lamb as is the case with the finest shwarmas, but turkey meat.

To my palate the shwarma was not really all that bad. In fact, it was at just about the same level of the pre-packaged shwarma meat that you can buy frozen in supermarkets. Unfortunately, I do not consider such frozen items treats, the fried, re-heated meat never as succulent,crisp or fatty as meat that has been grilled and sliced with a long sharp knife just before making its way to your sandwich. Going a bit further, the pita bread was rather tough, the tchina was so diluted that it might easily have been mistaken for mayonnaise, there were too many tomatoes on the sandwich and the hot sauce had far more in common with the cuisine of the state of Louisiana and not of the Middle-East. In a phrase, not my cup of shwarma. To McDonalds' credit, however, the chips were fresh, crisp and delicious with nothing more than salt sprinkled over. As to the Coke, what can one say. It was a Coke.

I adore fine shwarma. The next time I am in the mood for that treat it will most definitely not be to McDonalds that I go.

McDonalds: on the top level of Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv and in dozens of other branches throughout the country.


Edited by Daniel Rogov (log)

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I think I might be related to your brother!

marlena, (who is about 99% garlic, from childhood on.....)

I don't think people realize how extreme the love of garlic is over there. One time we were cleaning my brother's room (he was about 5) and we found a bunch of garlic peels in his nightstand drawer. It turned out he was stealing heads of garlic for midnight snacks.

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I would say that both Chicken and beef/lamb are very common in Lebanon. I hesitate to say that chicken is the more popular one now, but it sure seems like it.

I even think that the chicken Shawarma is a recent addition, I could've swon until the mid eighties only the beef/lamb combination was known as Shawarma. Then chicken showed up and I remember the first time my dad bought us these sandwiches I thought it was the best thing since pita bread :smile:.

As for the garlic sauce, my class in eGCI has a couple of recipes for it. It is THE sauce in any sandwich with chicken and most other meats. My favorite is basically garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt blended to a smooth paste or pounded in a pestle (or is it mortar?). It is never just raw garlic alone.

Elie

A "chicken shawarma" is called a Shish Taouk (pronounced TA-OOK) everywhere in the Middle East. Also, the highest grade shawarmas I have eaten are typically lamb or mostly lamb with a little beef mixed in.

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I would say that both Chicken and beef/lamb are very common in Lebanon. I hesitate to say that chicken is the more popular one now, but it sure seems like it.

I even think that the chicken Shawarma is a recent addition, I could've swon until the mid eighties only the beef/lamb combination was known as Shawarma. Then chicken showed up and I remember the first time my dad bought us these sandwiches I thought it was the best thing since pita bread :smile:.

As for the garlic sauce, my class in eGCI has a couple of recipes for it. It is THE sauce in any sandwich with chicken and most other meats. My favorite is basically garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt blended to a smooth paste or pounded in a pestle (or is it mortar?). It is never just raw garlic alone.

Elie

A "chicken shawarma" is called a Shish Taouk (pronounced TA-OOK) everywhere in the Middle East. Also, the highest grade shawarmas I have eaten are typically lamb or mostly lamb with a little beef mixed in.

I cannot speak for all the middle east, but I will have to disagree with your statement concerning the Lebanese definition.

Shish Taouk (or Tawook) in any Lebanese restaurant refers to chunks of marinated chicken breast (marinade usually includes tomato paste, garlic and spices) on a regular metal or wood skewer (8-12 inches long), grilled over charcoal. In the US, unfortunalty lots of restaurants try to pass it as shawarma, which it is not.

Chicken Shawarma refers to the huge vertical metal skewer we have been talking about, with layers of mrinated chicken meat. The meat is sliced off as it cooks.

Elie

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