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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A chicken shawarma
Alternative namesShowarma, shaurma, shoarma, etc.[1]
Place of originMiddle East
Region or stateLevant
Associated cuisineArab
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsMeat (traditionally lamb or mutton, but also chicken, turkey, beef, or veal); pita, laffa, lavash, or any other suitable bread for a wrap; chopped or shredded vegetables; assorted condiments
Similar dishesDöner kebab, İskender kebap, gyros, al pastor

Shawarma (/ʃəˈwɑːrmə/; Arabic: شاورما) is a Middle Eastern dish that originated in the Levant region of the Arab world during the Ottoman Empire,[1][2][3][4] consisting of meat that is cut into thin slices, stacked in an inverted cone, and roasted on a slow-turning vertical spit. Traditionally made with lamb or mutton, it may also be made with chicken, turkey, beef, or veal.[5][6][1] The surface of the rotisserie meat is routinely shaved off once it cooks and is ready to be served.[7][8] Shawarma is a popular street food throughout the Arab world and the Greater Middle East.[9][10][11][12]


The name shāwarmā in Arabic is a rendering of the term çevirme in Ottoman Turkish (چيويرمى [tʃeviɾˈme], lit.'turning'), referring to rotisserie.[11]


Shawarma preparation in Lebanon, 1950

Although the roasting of meat on horizontal spits has an ancient history, the shawarma technique—grilling a vertical stack of meat slices and cutting it off as it cooks—first appeared in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century in the form of döner kebab,[1][13][14] which both the Greek gyros and the Levantine shawarma are derived from.[1][2][15] Shawarma, in turn, led to the development during the early 20th century of the contemporary Mexican dish tacos al pastor when it was brought there by Lebanese immigrants.[2][16] The dish is also especially popular in Ottawa, Ontario, where a large community of the Lebanese diaspora exists.[17]


Shawarma is prepared from thin cuts of seasoned and marinated lamb, mutton, veal, beef, chicken, or turkey. The slices are stacked on a skewer about 60 cm (20 in) high. Pieces of fat may be added to the stack to provide extra juiciness and flavour. A motorized spit slowly turns the stack of meat in front of an electric or gas-fired heating element, continuously roasting the outer layer. Shavings are cut off the rotating stack for serving, customarily with a long, flat knife.[1]

Spices may include cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric or paprika, and in some areas baharat.[16][3] Shawarma is commonly served as a sandwich or wrap, in a flatbread such as pita, laffa or lavash.[1][18] In the Middle East, chicken shawarma is typically served with garlic sauce, fries, and pickles. The garlic sauce served with the sandwich depends on the meat. Toum or toumie sauce is made from garlic, vegetable oil, lemon, and egg white or starch, and is usually served with chicken shawarma. Tarator sauce is made from garlic, tahini sauce, lemon, and water, and is served with beef shawarma.

In Israel, most shawarma is made with dark-meat turkey, commonly served with tahina sauce instead of Yogurt for kashrut reasons.[16] It is often garnished with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, pickled vegetables, hummus, tahina sauce, sumac, or amba mango sauce.[1] Some restaurants offer additional toppings, including grilled peppers, eggplant, or french fries.[19]

In Armenia and Georgia, shawarma is traditionally made with thin cuts of marinated meat which is left marinating overnight in spices such as coriander, cumin, cardamom, paprika, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.[20]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Marks, Gil (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. ISBN 9780544186316. OCLC 849738985. Archived from the original on 2023-04-21. Retrieved 2018-08-10 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c Prichep, Deena; Estrin, Daniel (2015-05-07). "Thank the Ottoman Empire for the taco al pastor". PRI. Archived from the original on 2015-05-08. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b Salloum, Habeeb; Lim, Suan L. (2010). The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Arabian Cooking. Tokyo: Tuttle Pub. p. 66. ISBN 9781462905249. OCLC 782879761. Archived from the original on 2023-04-21. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  4. ^ Philip Mattar (2004). Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa: D-K. Macmillan Reference USA. p. 840. ISBN 978-0-02-865771-4. Archived from the original on 2023-04-21. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  5. ^ Albala, Ken, ed. (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 197, 225, 250, 260–261, 269. ISBN 9780313376269. Archived from the original on 2023-04-21. Retrieved 2020-10-20 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Davidson, Alan (2014). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford Companions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 259. ISBN 9780191040726. OCLC 1119636257 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Mattar, Philip (2004). Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa: D-K. Vol. 2 (Hardcover ed.). Macmillan Library Reference. p. 840. ISBN 9780028657714. OCLC 469317304. Archived from the original on 2023-04-21. Retrieved 2015-11-14. Shawarma is a popular Levantine Arab specialty.
  8. ^ La Boone, III, John A. (2006). Around the World of Food: Adventures in Culinary History (Paperback ed.). iUniverse, Inc. p. 115. ISBN 0595389686. OCLC 70144831. Archived from the original on 2023-04-21. Retrieved 2020-10-20. Shawarma - An Arab sandwich similar to the gyro.
  9. ^ الهواري, د عبد القادر. أسلمة العالم (in Arabic). ببلومانيا للنشر والتوزيع. p. 54.
  10. ^ Kraig, Bruce; Sen, Colleen Taylor (2013). Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. xxv, 18–19, 127–129, 339. ISBN 978-1598849554. OCLC 864676073.
  11. ^ a b Al Khan, Mohammed N. (31 July 2009). "Shawarma: the Arabic fast food". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  12. ^ Jenny Walker; Terry Carter; Lara Dunston (2007). Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula. Lonely Planet. pp. 381–. ISBN 978-1-74104-546-8.
  13. ^ Eberhard Seidel-Pielen (May 10, 1996). "Döner-Fieber sogar in Hoyerswerda" [Doner fever even in Hoyerswerda]. Die Zeit (in German). Archived from the original on December 25, 2021. Retrieved May 6, 2016. Neither in the written recipes of the medieval Arab cuisine nor in the Turkish cookbooks from the first half of the 19th century are there any indications. According to research carried out by Turkish master chef Rennan Yaman, who lives in Berlin, the doner kebab is an amazingly young creation of Ottoman cuisine. (Quote translated from the German)
  14. ^ Kiple, Kenneth F.; Ornelas, Kriemhild Coneè, eds. (2000). The Cambridge World History of Food, Volume 2. Cambridge University Press. p. 1147. ISBN 9780521402156. Archived from the original on 2023-04-21. Retrieved 2019-07-23 – via Google Books. Bursa is the town that gave birth to the world-famous doner kebab, meat roasted on a vertical revolving spit.
  15. ^ Kremezi, Aglaia (2010). "What's in the Name of a Dish?". In Hosking, Richard (ed.). Food and Language: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking 2009. Vol. 28. Totnes: Prospect Books. pp. 203–204. ISBN 9781903018798. OCLC 624419365. Archived from the original on 2023-01-15. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  16. ^ a b c Guttman, Vered (2017-05-01). "How to Make Shawarma Like an Israeli". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  17. ^ Deachman, Bruce (2017-09-02). "Shawarma: the staple of Ottawa cuisine". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2024-02-25.
  18. ^ Al-Masri, Mohammad. Colloquial Arabic (Levantine): The Complete Course for Beginners. Routledge.
  19. ^ Laor, Eran (2019-01-10). "Shawarma, the Iconic Israeli Street Food, Is Slowly Making a Comeback in Tel Aviv". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 2022-03-05. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  20. ^ "Tasty Yerevan | Eat the World Los Angeles". www.eattheworldla.com. Retrieved 2023-11-03.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Shawarma at Wikimedia Commons