mmmmm {Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce}

10 Jul

At some point I stumbled upon Simply Scratch, a great blog about trying to cook more with fresh, natural ingredients instead of boxed or frozen.  I have tried a handful of her recipes so far, and each one has been great!  I love her simple take on honey mustard chicken mostly because it’s delicious, but also because I usually already have everything I need to make it in the pantry.  A quick stop for chicken is all that’s needed!  I’ve also tried her flank steak tacos, and they turned out great as well!

Each time I checked the blog for ideas, one recipe in particular always caught my eye: Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce.  I really wanted to try it out, but one instruction in the recipe stopped me every time: Seal and place in a bowl to refrigerate for the next 3 days!!  I hardly ever plan dinner three hours in advance, much less three days!  Curiosity finally got the better of me, and I decided Thursday was the day!  I told Adam that I was putting the chicken in the fridge to marinate on Monday evening, and at that point we were locked in for dinner at home on Thursday.

Well, if you recall, Monday ended up being a pretty busy day of baking, and I didn’t quite get the chicken in the marinade.  So, the first major change I made to the recipe was to only marinate it for two days instead of three.  I also couldn’t find star anise at the local Giant, so I substituted with 1/2 teaspoon of anise seeds.  Finally, I omitted the mayonnaise from the garlic sauce, and just used light sour cream.

Here’s the delicious-looking finished product that might entice you to read on:

Grilled chicken ... can't wait to dig in!

{Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce}

Serves 6


  • 3-4 pound Chicken Thighs
  • 10 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 6 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Vinegar
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons ground Cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground White Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Clove
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 2 3-inch sticks of Cinnamon, crushed
  • 1 Star Anise {1/2 teaspoon anise seeds}

Press or mince the 10 garlic cloves and combine with salt. Smash them until they make a paste.  In a small bowl combine the spices, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil.  Place the chicken thighs in a gallon size plastic bag and add the crushed cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and star anise {anise seeds}.  Pour in the marinade, zip, and press on the bag to evenly distribute the marinade.  Place bag in a bowl and marinate in the fridge for up to 3 days.

After marinating, grill on low {200-250 degrees} for about 10 to 12 minutes, {if bone in} per side or until a meat thermometer reads at 165-170 degrees. 

Ready for the marinade!

Chilling out for two days! So hard to leave it in there!

Garlic Sauce:

  • 8 small cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced and strained
  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Mayonnaise, to taste {I skipped this one}
  • Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt, to taste

Mince or press 8 garlic cloves and make into a paste with the kosher salt.  Add in the lemon juice and while whisking add the olive oil. Add mayo, sour cream or Greek yogurt to taste adding it gradually until desired taste and texture {or just sour cream}.

Let me just say, this chicken was sooo worth the wait!  The skin crisped up so nicely and all of the spices worked amazingly well.  Even the garlic sauce, albeit pretty simple, was finger-licking good.  We ate it with some naan and roasted cauliflower, and it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while.  I reminded myself of Bill Murray in the dinner scene from What About Bob? {that reference is for you, Dad!}.

Anyway, I highly recommend trying this recipe.  You will NOT be disappointed!


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