Chicken Shawarma Tacos with Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato Pico De Gallo:
The Great Spice Experiment: Lately, I’ve been into experimenting with spices that I don’t use on a regular basis. I’m trying to get out of my “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” rut. Did you sing that as you read it? Any Simon and Garfunkel fans in the house?
Anyway, Back to to the spice experiment. The other day, I came across some yummy marinated chicken shawarma in the fresh meats section at Trader Joe’s. This inspired me to create my own recipe for this flavorful dish.
I didn’t have all of the spices that I needed on hand, and realized it would be quite an investment to buy a jar of each, so I decided to purchase a couple tablespoons of each in the bulk spice section at New Seasons (Local, natural foods store).
What a great way to try new things without a huge investment! Why didn’t I think of this before?
After playing around with different spice combinations, I think I found “The one”. This chicken came out so flavorful, tender and juicy!
Instead of serving the chicken in the traditional flatbread with hummus and yogurt, I thought it would be fun to serve it in taco form. And because I love tacos!
I made a fresh and cool cucumber, mint and heirloom cherry tomato pico de gallo to compliment the spice laden chicken. Yum!
Add a sprinkle of Feta cheese and a drizzle of tangy yogurt sauce to take it over the top!
For the Chicken: Combine the following spices (this makes enough for 2 separate times)and set aside.
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground corriander
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper more if you like it hot
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a small bowl whisk together to make marinade:
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 3 tablespoons of spice mix above (reserve the rest of later use)
Place 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs in a bowl or ziploc bag, pour marinade over chicken and toss to coat thoroughly. Let chicken marinate about 5-6 hours.
When ready to cook, you can either grill chicken or sear well in a pan on the stove and finish cooking in the oven. Cooking times will very. Cook chicken until it reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees F on food thermometer. I seared mine in a pan and finished it in the oven about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let chicken rest a few minutes before slicing for optimum yumminess. Slice and serve in warm corn tortillas topped with cucumber and heirloom tomato pico de gallo.
- 1 cup diced persian or english cucumber seedless cucumber
- 1 cup diced heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste
- In a bowl mix all pico de gallo ingredients until well combined. Serve on Chicken Shawarma tacos.
Suggested Additional toppings:
- Crumbled Feta Cheese
- Yogurt Sauce, such as tzatziki
- Sauteed or grilled onions and/or peppers
- Chopped olives
- Sliced Jalapenos
- Shredded Lettuce or cabbage