Shawarma in a pita
|Meat: lamb, chicken, turkey, beef
Sandwich: Shawarma meat, pita or wrap bread, chopped or shredded vegetables, pickles and assorted condiments
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|Media at Wikimedia Commons:|
Shawarma (Arabic: شاورما) is an Arab meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Although it can be served in shavings on a plate (generally with accompaniments), shawarma also refers to a sandwich or wrap made with shawarma meat. Shawarma is usually eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips and amba. It is similar to Turkish döner kebab and Greek gyros. A related Armenian dish is tarna 'to turn'.
Shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat (beef, lamb or marinated chicken) on a stick. An onion, a tomato, or a halved lemon is sometimes placed at the top of the stack for additional flavoring. The meat is roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of, or over, a flame for hours (see rotisserie). Traditionally, a wood fire was used; currently, a gas flame is common. While specialty restaurants might offer two or more meat selections, some establishments have just one skewer.
While cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife, an electric knife or a small circular saw, dropping to a circular tray below to be retrieved. Shawarma is eaten as a fast food, made up into a sandwich wrap with pita bread or rolled up in an Armenian lavash flatbread together with vegetables and dressing. A variety of vegetables come with the shawarma which include: cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickled gherkins, pickles, and cabbage. One has the option to get French fries in some countries, including: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, also countries in Europe such as Romania, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria and the U.K. Other options include thick cut French fries served inside the lavash to help soak up the sauce and juices keeping them inside the wrap.
Dressings include: tahini (or tahina), amba sauce (pickled mango with chili), hummus, or flavored with vinegar and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Chicken shawarma is served with garlic mayonnaise, toum (garlic sauce), pomegranate concentrate, or skhug (a hot chili sauce). Once the shawarma is made, it might be dipped in the fat dripping from the skewer and then briefly seared against the flame.
In popular culture
In The Avengers (2012), Iron Man (Tony Stark) mentions a shawarma eatery in New York. In a post-credits scene, the superhero team is seen exhausted, eating shawarmas in silence. Shawarma sales in Los Angeles and New York City reportedly "went through the roof" after the film premiered.
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- Breznican, Anthony (November 29, 2012). "Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): The story of the after-credits shawarma scene in 'The Avengers'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- "'Avengers' Joke Skyrockets Shawarma Sales in Los Angeles". TMZ. May 7, 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- Evry, Max (September 25, 2012). "‘The Avengers’ Effect: Did the Movie Make Shawarma Sales Go Up?". Film.com. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- Media related to Shawarma at Wikimedia Commons