Ria's Collection: A MEDITERRANEAN LOVE AFFAIR - Pita Bread,Chicken Shawarma, Garlic Sauce,Tahini & Hummus (from scratch!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A MEDITERRANEAN LOVE AFFAIR - Pita Bread,Chicken Shawarma, Garlic Sauce,Tahini & Hummus (from scratch!)

" I am so excited!!! I made it at home! I made it at home!! YEaaaaYYY!! If I can, so can you! " was my status message on Facebook for the last 2 days, and I am still excited! For those of y'all who have been wondering what line meant... here is the answer :-) I very (?) successfully made a big fat Mediterranean dinner at home...and we both loved it to the last bite.

Shawarma and my brother are thick pals, which I have mentioned in one of my previous posts too...you could also call them as chuddy buddies ;-) And I gradually got into that line too...later all 4 of us were big time fans of Shawarma sold by Cita Pani, a small restaurant very close to our home in Kannur. And whenever we waited inside our car for the delivery boy to bring in our parcel, we used to think and think and talk about how that huge chunk of chicken is hanging there or what could be that secret ingredient to make it so yummy! Never found an answer but all guesses were made...yoghurt, turmeric,chicken breast etc...

Finally, I found a source for it's recipe and I didn't let it go away!

Recipe slightly modified from Dede's

2 boneless (skinless) chicken breasts,cut into strips
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp 7 spices ( I used 'curry powder' from the local grocery store)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp red chilli powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp Olive oil
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, cover and let marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator.  
  • Heat 3 tbs olive oil, add chicken and let cook for 10 minutes until chicken browns, cook for an additional 2 minutes if necessary to brown.  
  • To make sandwich, use pita bread, spread garlic sauce on pita, add chicken, kabees and pickles (you can add tomatoes and lettuce if desired). Roll sandwich and press in the grill press to make sandwich crispy for 3 minutes.  Enjoy with fries or salad. 
Recipe source: Dede

3 cups flour + 1 cup flour for kneading
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 packet yeast (7 grams or 1/4 oz)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
Olive oil

  • In a small bowl mix yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup warm water and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  In a large bowl mix 3 cups flour with salt and make a well or whole in the middle.  Slowly stir in yeast mix and 1 cup warm water until well combined.
  • In a large bowl add 1 tbs olive oil and spread all over to keep dough from sticking, place dough in oiled bowl, cover with a blanket, and let sit for 3 hours in a warm place.  After 3 hours and dough has risen, add flour on to table surface and knead dough for 10 minutes, add flour to surface to keep it from sticking.  Form dough into small balls and let sit in a plate for 10 minutes.  
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Roll our balls to 1/8 inch thick and place on flat cookie sheet or pan, cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly brown and dough puffs up.

The other topic of our discussion was...What could that 'white sauce' like garlic mayonnaise be? No clue! I used to think that they must have been diluting the garlic mayo or something like that...I even wanted to ask them for the recipe...but never did! I am glad I didn't , because, now I have the recipe to a much much better tasting garlic sauce too...trust me ...it is seriously addictive!

Recipe source: Dede

4 cloves garlic minced with
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup lemon juice ( I added less than half a 1/4 cup and found that perfect. So add to your taste.)
1 egg white

  • In a food processor add garlic minced with salt, begin processor and slowly add oil and lemon juice alternating them until gone, scape down sides intermittently.  
  • Add one to two egg whites while the processor is blending until you reach mayonnaise consistency.  Serve with chicken or meat and cover and refrigerate remainder. 
  • Lasts about a week refrigerated. 

It's very easy for me to find Tahini in stores here, but what's the fun in buying it when you can make it at home with just 2 ingredients? So, I decided to do it from scratch, just like all the other stuff that you just saw now :-)

Recipe source: Dede

2 cups sesame seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F) and spread out sesame seeds on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 4-5 mins, do not let them brown.
  • Pour seeds into a food processer and add the vegetable oil and blend the seeds to a nice smooth paste.
  • Store in an air tight container in refrigerator.
This is one of the best ways to use the Tahini...obviously everyone knows what that is! Hummus! This one is really a garlic-y one...my kinda stuff!

Recipe source: Dede

1/4 Cup Yogurt
1 Can Garbanzo Beans "Chick Peas"
1/2 Cup Homemade Tahini
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Tsp of Salt
1/4 Tsp citric acid (if you need more lemon taste)
2 Tbs water (if too thick)
3-4 Fresh Mint Leaves (optional)
2 Tbs of Fresh Parsley
1 Tsp of Cayenne Pepper or Paprika
1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

  • Mix first 9 ingredients and blend until smooth and to desired thickness. 
  • Garnish with parsley, cayenne pepper and olive oil.
Verdict: All we both can say is, it was just an AMAZING meal! We adore the Shawarma filling...it was just too perfect! The aroma when you cook the chicken is something you really need to experience. Loved the pita bread and hummus! I have tried making Pita before, which was delicious, but this one is much easier and tension- free ;-) [The life of a food blogger! ] It was a perfect, complete, happy meal! It was a bit extraa happy for me because I solved a big puzzle of how to make 'Cita Pani' shawarma at home :-)

Will I make it again? OBVIOUSLY, Yes!! :-D


amna said...

this is killer Ria :) awesome!

Unknown said...

Lovely mediterranean fare Ria. Great job!!

Twinsy Rachel said...

ha Ria, God bless u girl... i was searching for a tahini recipe. I have fond memories of shawarma from an eatery in BTM Layout, Bangalore (thought itz a mal shop, i forgot the name..) Nice post ::)) Inspiring

Unknown said...

i HAVE to be the first one to comment on this post !

The pics r yummilicious !!!! n im sure the spread was too :)

I've never tried making tahini at home ..gnna give it a shot !!

n as always ..Awesome job !! :)

Finla said...

Hummus i love that i make often and eat them just like that with toas bread and sharma only from the turkish shops in brussles, but i am sure gonna try your recipe aas it jus tlooks so so super yumm.

Shabs.. said...

Cita pani....my Sis in law was talking alot about that place....when we went there it was so busy, that we ended up eating at another restaurant inside the new bus stand...:)

very nice recipes....and i too love med cuisines........pinney instead of seven spice, u can use garam masala....I have made their seven spice also called baharat at home, its more cinnaony, but uses most ingredients in a garam masala, but different proportions....Theer is one another sauce xcalled tahini sauce, which is a mixture of tahini and curd, that is normally spread on pita....its very good...Well, this post is really tempting me to make some med feast at home....I love dede's recipes...she is just awesome!

Unknown said...

Drooling over ur first click...Awesome!!

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Loved everything ria... felt Like i am medit restuarant now.. everything makes me hungry and all my fav ones...

Suji said...

Kudos to you Ria, WE love Shawarma and you made it looks so asy to make..

Kairali sisters

divya said...

looks yummy and delicious...

Anonymous said...

Wow ria,

Great clicks and a lovely new header...I dont eat chicken...but I can see you are really singing in your kitchen these days!!! HA ha ha ...

Cheers, Shobha

Dori said...

Amazing! Looks so good and tempting, YUMMY! Bookmarked!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

OMG, that is awesome! I am a big fan of that kind of food. Your pita wrap sure looks very tempting!



Ann said...

OMG Ria - you have outdone yourself!! This is superb, and your pics are exact as usual.
I tried Shawarma with a store bought mix and once set the oven on fire!! Long story....

Rose /Magpie said...

Wow Ria! That looks absolutely awesome!

Rose /Magpie said...

Wow Ria! That looks absolutely awesome!

pinklady said...

Hi Ria,

THanks a ton for posting this yummiest recipe.The picture itself making me drool...surely gonna try this.

Keri said...

You are not a cook. You are an artist. I am sooo inspired by your work. Really beautiful. keri a.k.a. Sam

Keri said...

And thank you for making me salivate all over my key board

Rachel said...

Wow been wanting to make this and tahini from scratch! Thank you so much for the recipe.

Jamie said...

Fabulous, Ria, just fabulous! I love shwarma and yours is perfect. All of it. Everything here. And the photos are stunning! Moving to the US certainly is working for you! I will be trying this recipe!

Karthika said...

Wow just wow....(wowing continues) I love Shawarma. PERIOD.

Will try it tomorrow and let you know how it turns out.

Karthika said...

Wow just wow....(wowing continues) I love Shawarma. PERIOD.

Will try it tomorrow and let you know how it turns out.

Unknown said...

Shawarma!! Yumm!! Luckily, we get a lot of yummy shawarma here, it's something I eat real often. Your entire spread looks delicious!!

ARUNA said...

everything looks so yumm!!!!

Ariel said...

Ria I tried your fried rice and 'Suzy' Chicken and it was awesome. My son loved it. Soon I'm going to try this shawarma. Thank you for sharing the recipes.

Fathima said...

I am a big time fan of Shawarma... Will definitely try this out!

Swapna said...

Wow Ria...this is one of your best post in RC :)...Love every thing...recipes, photos....great post dear!

Unknown said...

Hi Ria,
I made Pita bread using your recipe for lunch ( with lamb curry).Adipoli aayirunu........ was a hit with my husband and son. We loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

The pictures look too good. WAY TO GO Ria!


Sarah Naveen said...

my fav..looks awesome Ria!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Riya
Your spread looks awesome and I will defn be making this... I was just wondering if we can make Tahini with black sesame seeds instead of white will it be just a change in the colour of the dish or will the flavor change as well


Ria Mathew said...

Anisha- Go with the white sesame seeds, it will definately change the colour and taste.

Let me know how you liked it :)

Unknown said...

hi ria, can i replace canola oil with olive oil u know its hard to get it in kerala.or use the goldwinner sunflower oilit is the only sunflower oil or vegetable oil rand we get here.

Justbeanme said...

Hi Ria,Now u r a part of my routine..itz not that earlier i never used to chk The Internet World... now there is one more great reason other than FB..
Each day i have something to tell u after visiting u.I am Miss Nobody,still i am as xited for all the new things i try (never dared earlier)at home.(used to only watch Deb on u tube n there r great blogs out there but never felt like tryin!
I know there r many out there who do stand for ur 3 T's... n now i too am one among them!!
Today my hubby went to Mediterranean Cuisine,thou the address was his own wifyz kitchen n he was like r u serious!
I didn't dare ur Pita bread but got nan n rest is just history! I did this GSauce(thou it didn't look anywere near to consistency in ur pic :))The bottle was prepared yesterday n by night all of it was over!!My 4yr old Gal eat it with just Nan n whole day at least twice she had it with crackers!Goodness my story goes on!!!
The Hummus- wow i used to buy it every week ..believe me every week! yay now u know wht i will do!!
This addiction to u is doing good to me n minez... !Ahhh Cant bore umore!!Keep Posting the Tried Tasted n Trusted

Unknown said...

Hi Ria How ru very happy to c your blogg .... may be u remember or not?we wear in the same Marian ville hotel in Bangalore may be u dint c me but i c yo. When i c your blog i just remember the tall girl Ria :)

About this Medi food i love this and the very simple method u have posted here so love it :) keep posting more recipes take care

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