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rajsuman

Shawarma

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They do not leave the shwarma meat out overnight here. If there is any left, they remove it and put in the refrigerator.

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What did they do before refrigeration existed? If the shawarma tasted good and was cooked sufficiently to kill any bugs, I'm not sure it's such a big deal if it's left out overnight. When I was living in rural Malaysia with no refrigerator and electricity only at night, our landlady, who cooked for us, would regularly boil a chicken after it was slaughtered, leave it out in a gradually cooling pot, and then reheat it as a curry the next day. The same thing was sometimes done with fish and so forth. We never got sick from any of that, because it was thoroughly boiled. And frankly, the well water we were using was probably as dangerous as anything else, but OK when boiled. (Like most everyone else in the village, we did get a whipworm infestation in our intestines, probably from brushing our teeth with the well water and washing the dishes with it, but no upset stomach from bad food.)

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Just seem like asking for trouble to me....

In any case this thread is slowly moving away from it's subject: Shawarma. Please, no more discussion here about the proper temperature for food to be kept at. I am sure we can find another thread that deals with that subject. If not, then one can be started in the General Food Topics forum.

Thanks.

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The authentic shawarma has finally arrived in Dublin. A few months ago, I found a little Lebanese place called Fayruz (well actually a guy at the restaurant at the Mosque recommended it to me when I begged him to tell me where the best shawarma is to be found) and I couldn't believe how good it is.

I akways opt for lamb, but a few days ago, I ended up with a chicken shawarma by mistake and found that it tasted a bit too much of white pepper. Is this typical for a Lebanese chicken marinade? And if anyone has a few pointers for the spices in Lebanese and Israeli marinades for lamb, I would be very interested.

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I think they marinade the meat with cumin, coriander, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.

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Do I dare get into this one? :) Actually I remember writing about gyros/shwarma/döner somewhere else but I couldn't find a post from me in this thread so here goes.

I won't get into who the first one was to stack the meat vertically, cause I don't know. :)

Iskender, as wannabechef mentioned, was invented in Bursa and is named after its creator. Was he inspired by someone/something else? Possibly. But it's called iskender kebabı in Turkey because of him. The original restaurant is still there. And it's expensive.

By the way, the photo submitted as "iskender" didn't look like iskender to me; it looked like a plain portion over rice. Iskender is generally strips of döner laid over cubes of toasted pide, topped with tomato sauce, with melted butter poured over the whole thing, and a blob of yogurt on the side. It's more or less a döner version of "yoğurtlu kebap," which is available in many kebabçıs. The most amazing one I ever had was at an Antep place near Fındıkzade in Istanbul. That could change of course. ;) (Antep has become my Mecca in recent years...I'll have to make a pilgrimage soon, and will also have to either diet a month before I go or take a couple pairs of bigger size pants when I do...)

As far as I'm aware, in Greece all the döner (gyros, means the same thing) is now the slice version, and the most common meat seems to be pork. When I lived there in the mid 70s, they still had the ground meat version and I remember a wonderful one in Thessaloniki on Aristotelous square that is long gone... A scandal emerged that some gyros vendors were using the ground version to get rid of bad meat, so it was outlawed. I've been back several times but have not seen the ground meat version for sale so I assume this has not changed.

As for food poisoning - I'm sure it happens; I've had "the gurgles" twice from döner but always during hot spells in the summer, which leads me to believe that it was not from the meat (which, being on a grill anyway, shouldn't really be affected) but rather from the chopped lettuce and tomatoes that sit out in the heat waiting to be put in a sandwich. I remember hearing that gyros is not allowed in some states in the US because of concerns about lukewarm meat in the middle. Can anyone confirm that?

The thing that drives me nuts in the US is that generally they don't let it brown on the grill! I.e. instead of cooking it vertically and cutting it as it as it browns (building up a bit of a reserve for the rush times), they tend to hack it off the spit and fry it. This rather defeats the purpose...?

As for serving - my personal preference is a tossup between "pide" (which in Turkey is a thick chewy bread that is cut crosswise, it has no natural pocket) or "dürüm," in which it's wrapped in lavash with some tomato, lettuce and pickles if you are lucky, as well as a few fried potatoes. In Greece it used to be with a splash of yogurt, tomatoes and onions, salt and sometimes a bit of red pepper, and sometimes some mustard. They were generally small, you might easily eat two. Or not. The intensely fatty sour cream "tzatziki" that they fill them with in the US is (to me) disgusting, and the portion size is absurd. Now they are going the same route in Greece - rich sauces, big portions. This seems to be the trend across the board, not just in gyros and souvlaki. Is it any wonder Greece now has the highest rate of childhood obesity in Europe and almost every other person seems now to be overweight?


Edited by sazji (log)

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Great discussion...I have learned alot...

Here on the east coast of Canada(Nova Scotia) Lebanese immigrants introduced a Pita sandwich called a "donair". The donair is heavily seasoned ground beef that is formed into a spit and cooked vertically the same as the photos in this thread. The meat is shaved/sliced off the spit as it cooks and is served in a warm pita with onions and tomatoes and the most amazing sauce that is made with condensed milk, vinegar, sugar and garlic. I have to assume that these "donairs" are a derivitive of a Shwarma?

Interstingly enough I ate at a Lebanese restaurant yesterday and ordered chicken Shwarma. It was ok....however quite bland and dry. It was served with a chunky tomato and cucumber sauce as well as french fries and hummus.

Years ago when I was in the Navy....I was in the Persian Gulf(Dubai and Bahrain) and ate "street food" that was cooked lamb and chicken stuffed in Pita with a white tangy sauce, tomatoes, onions and pickles. Really amazing flavor! Were these Shwarma?

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The photo I posted was actually Iskender Kebap. You just can't see the sauce and bread under the meat in the photo. That was a place in Izmit where the chef is supposedly from the famous restaurant in Bursa. It was one of the best I've tasted.

It also drives me nuts when places hack off the raw meat and then fry it on a griddle or something. I find that is usually done in places where they don't have true doner/shwarma to begin with. Those are usually premade. I feel lucky that I live in NYC where it's not that hard to find real ones - but we still have our share of the premade frozen variety.

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I remember hearing that gyros is not allowed in some states in the US because of concerns about lukewarm meat in the middle. Can anyone confirm that?

Yeap, see here for something along those lines. It seems like there might some law somewhere about that, but like I commented in that thread, in Houston the meat is piled on the skewer raw.

Years ago when I was in the Navy....I was in the Persian Gulf(Dubai and Bahrain) and ate "street food" that was cooked lamb and chicken stuffed in Pita with a white tangy sauce, tomatoes, onions and pickles. Really amazing flavor! Were these Shwarma?

Probably not. Shawarma is cooked on that vertical spit roaster that was shown above. Were the ones you had cooked like that or simply grilled on a charcoal fire?

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Probably not. Shawarma is cooked on that vertical spit roaster that was shown above. Were the ones you had cooked like that or simply grilled on a charcoal fire?

Actually it was on a spit and sliced off with a knife. It was served with this wonderful little pickles....like cornichons.

Some of the best food I have ever had is street food from around the world.

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On 10/1/2006 at 5:02 AM, Nicolai said:

Nice pictures mouth watering as usual.

However, traditional Shawarma is not marinated in yogurt whatsoever.

You can marinated it if you want to, however this is not the norm.

The main ingredients which give Shawarma the typical flavour are a vinegar marinate and cardamon pods. (in addition to other spices).

What you see "oozing out between the layers of meat" is not yogurt but single layers of fat between each 8 or 10 layers of meat. I am talking "Ly'eh".

Alternatively, some place the "Ly'eh" on top of the skewer.

The closest you can make at home, is to cut lamb into slivers and place in metal round tray, marinate with red wine vinegar, few whole cardamon pods, slivered onions, cubed tomatoes, S&P, a sprinkling of EVOO and marinate for few hours untill meat almost cooked. Place in hot oven (250/280) and monitor untill meat is crisp outside/soft inside. Lay in bread with Tahineh and veggies/pickles and enjoy.

I am now going to treat myself for a Shawarma in your name today.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, ChefCrash said:

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the entertainment. I know Chef Ossama personally....nough said. TV Chefs and all......Shawarma with Ginger served in French baguette......next stop Shawarma Croissants!!!!

 

Mind you, an airline is serving on board Shawarma with open pate Feuilleté  lattice....so there!

 

You knew I was going to cringe, didn't you ;)

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