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Shawarma (2223426004).jpg
Shawarma in a pita
Type Meat
Place of origin Levant
Main ingredients Meat: lamb, chicken, turkey, beef
Sandwich: Shawarma meat or Shaorma Falafel, pita or wrap bread, chopped or shredded vegetables, pickles and assorted condiments
Cookbook: Shawarma  Media: Shawarma

Shawarma or Shawurma (Arabic: شاورما‎ / ALA-LC: shāwarmā;) is a Levantine Arab[1][2] 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 akin to the Turkish doner kebab and the Greek gyros.[3]


The Arabic name shawarma or shawurma comes from the Turkish word çevirme [tʃeviɾˈme] 'turning'.[4]


Shawarma in Jerusalem
Shawarma on a spit

Shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat on a vertical spit. An onion, a tomato, or a halved lemon is sometimes placed at the top for decoration. The meat is roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of, or over, a flame for hours (see rotisserie). Gas or electric heat is used; formerly, there was a cage holding burning charcoal or wood. Some restaurants offer two or more meat selections; many have just one.

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, rhubarb and cabbage. This will optionally be accompanied by French fries in some countries, including: Jordan, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, India, and Saudi Arabia, also countries in Europe such as Belgium, Romania, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, and in Australia and Canada.[5] Other options include thick cut French fries served inside the lavash to help soak up the sauce and juices, keeping them inside the wrap.[6]

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, toumaia (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.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Philip Mattar (2004). Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle Eastern (Hardcover ed.). Macmillan Library Reference. p. 840. ISBN 0028657713. Shawarma is a popular Levantine Arab specialty. 
  2. ^ John A La Boone III (2006). Around the World of Food: Adventures in Culinary History (Paperback ed.). iUniverse, Inc. p. 115. ISBN 0595389686. Shawarma - An Arab sandwich similar to the gyro. 
  3. ^ Aglaia Kremezi and Anissa Helou, "What's in a Dish's Name", "Food and Language", Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 2009, ISBN 190301879X
  4. ^ Terrorism, the Origin and the Sources: An Anthology of Poetry Ambigrams and Political Oratories, p. 307.
  5. ^, Beirut street food in London
  6. ^, item descriptions

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Shawarma at Wikimedia Commons