Shawarma: the savoury, satisfying street food that has become a sensation in the bustling corners of Nigeria. This dish boasts succulent beef and chicken fillings, a tantalising mixture of flavours. With dedication, experimentation, and a willingness to learn, you can make the mouthwatering magic of Nigerian shawarma in your kitchen.
Nigerian Shawarma Recipe
The style of Nigerian shawarma lies in its distinctive preparation, which is available at numerous stands in the country. A food many love, it often goes well with a refreshing soda, creating a truly satisfying experience.
Setting itself apart from the rest, this shawarma boasts a unique moistness. The sauce application ensures that each bite is an explosion of flavours, avoiding the common dryness in lesser versions.
The Art of Nigerian Shawarma Ingredients
To embark on the journey of preparing authentic Nigerian shawarma, one must acquaint themselves with the essential ingredients:
A fundamental aspect of the dish, the protein selection is versatile: hotdog, meat, sheep, chicken, or turkey.
An assortment of vibrant vegetables brings colour and freshness to the dish: tomatoes, cucumber, onions, lettuce, and zucchini.
The signature sauce blends mayonnaise, ketchup, red stew chips, and a hint of cayenne pepper.
Shawarma Ingredients in Nigeria
To form the foundation, gather these ingredients:
- 3½ cups of bread flour or all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of flour for dusting
- 2 tablespoons of instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon of melted butter
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- ½ cup of warm, rich milk (approximately 100 degrees)
- 1 cup of warm water (approximately 100 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil for greasing the bowl
How to Make Nigerian Shawarma
Delving into the realm of preparing Nigerian shawarma reveals a precise sequence of steps, each crucial in ensuring the final product is nothing short of exceptional:
- In a sizeable bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, yeast, salt, sugar, melted butter, milk, and water.
- Blend thoroughly using either a blender or your hands until the mixture is well integrated.
- Gradually incorporate additional flour until a soft, pliable dough is formed.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for approximately 5-8 minutes.
- Grease the bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil, then place the kneaded dough back into the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, allowing it to double in size over 2 hours.
- After the dough doubles, gently punch it to release excess air.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and keep them covered to prevent drying.
- Allow the portions to rest for about 15 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Roll out each dough portion into a thin flatbread using a rolling pin.
- Place the flatbread on the skillet, allowing it to bubble and then flipping to cook until both sides are a rich golden brown.
- Repeat the process until all portions of the dough have been transformed into delectable flatbreads.
- Assemble the ingredients into a harmonious masterpiece, crafting a truly heavenly shawarma.
Nigerian Chicken Shawarma at Home
For those seeking a quintessential Nigerian chicken shawarma experience within the comfort of their home, this recipe offers an authentic rendition:
Ingredients for Marinated Chicken
- 250g of boneless chicken breast or thighs
- 1½ minced garlic cloves
- 1½ tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon of allspice powder
- ½ teaspoon of chilli powder or paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- Salt, to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
- ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 deseeded tomato
- 1 onion, sliced into layers
- Fresh lettuce
- Shawarma bread
- 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons of ketchup
- A touch of cayenne pepper or red chilli flakes (optional)
- Begin by cutting the chicken breast or thighs into bite-sized pieces.
- Prepare the marinade by combining minced garlic, olive oil, ground coriander, allspice powder, chilli powder (or paprika), cinnamon powder, black pepper, Greek yoghurt, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly to form a thick paste.
- Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are well-coated.
- Cover the chicken and refrigerate for 12 hours, allowing the flavours to meld.
- Grill the marinated chicken on a stovetop using a grill pan or a non-stick skillet. Alternatively, bake the chicken in a preheated oven at 425°F for 25-30 minutes.
- On a non-stick skillet, briefly grill or sauté the deseeded tomatoes and sliced onions until they attain a slight char.
Sauce & Wrapping
- If desired, prepare the signature sauce by blending mayonnaise, ketchup, and a touch of cayenne pepper or red chilli flakes.
- Spread the sauce generously on the shawarma bread, forming the foundation of flavours.
- Layer the lettuce on the sauce, creating a bed for the tantalizing fillings.
- Arrange the grilled chicken pieces, sautéed tomatoes, and onions onto the lettuce.
- Carefully wrap the shawarma, enclosing the flavorful contents within.
- Heat the wrapped shawarma on a stovetop or grill for a delightful finishing touch to achieve a golden-brown exterior.
- Remove from the heat, indulge, and savour the symphony of flavours!
Historically prepared with sheep, goats, and chicken, shawarma has evolved to include beef in modern renditions. While commonly enjoyed as a wrap, some regions present it on plates, accompanied by delectable sides like seasoned rice, crispy fries, and fresh salads.
To experience the true essence of shawarma, consuming it within 24 hours is recommended. However, refrigeration can extend its lifespan to three to four days, though the sooner it’s enjoyed, the better.
Pair it with a beverage for a harmonious combination that complements the flavours. Whether enjoyed at a casual gathering or a special occasion, shawarma is a testament to Nigerian cuisine’s rich tapestry.
Here are the frequently asked questions about shawarma:
How Do You Heat Shawarma?
Preheat the oven to 150C, place the shawarma on a baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and heat for 35 minutes.
How Long Can Shawarma Last?
Shawarma is best eaten in a 24-hour time frame but can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days. The earlier consumed, the better.
What Are Shawarma Bread Called?
Shawarma bread is generally called flatbread; however, other countries have a different name for it, with probably a method unique to these countries. In Greece, it’s called “Pita”, called tortilla in Mexico, Naan bread in India etc. Simply put, all these names are used to describe Shawarma bread.