We’ve been recently learning to make different kinds of Mediterranean foods. After our food tour of Philadelphia, our go-to authority on Israeli food became Michael Solomonov. You may know him from Zahav in Philadelphia or have seen the documentary, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, on Netflix. We’ve been using his cookbook to make a twist on tabouli salad with apples and walnuts, his famous hummus, and matzo ball soup, but we were excited to hear that Solomonov now has another book Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious. It’s the perfect resource to learn how to make authentic Israeli food at home that’s going to be easy and packed with flavor. Instead of poaching it, we seared our Chicken Thigh Shawarma and it was delicious! The following is an excerpt from Israeli Soul.
In Israel, succulent and tender turkey shawarma layered with lamb fat gives the lamb version a run for its money. At home, chicken thighs can give the same juicy effect. We poach boneless thighs, then roll them in plastic wrap and chill them to firm them up, all the better to slice thin, uniform pieces to crisp in a pan. Our Shawarma Spice Blends (see below) can be used interchangeably. Here we use a Yemenite-inspired blend, redolent of curry and turned golden by the turmeric.
Chicken Thigh Shawarma
- 1½ tablespoons Shawarma Spice Blend #2 for Poultry, see below
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
Shawarma Spice Blend #2 for Poultry (Makes about 1.5 cups)
- ½ cup ground turmeric
- ½ cup ground cumin
- ½ cup ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- Mix the Spice Blend with the salt in a small bowl. Rub the chicken thighs all over with the mixture and roll up. Place each seasoned and rolled thigh on a piece of plastic wrap and tightly roll each in the plastic, securing the wrap under the rolls. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Carefully lower the wrapped chicken rolls into the hot water and poach them for 15 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath, then drain and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- When you’re ready to serve the shawarma, unwrap the chicken and slice each roll thinly. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Cook the sliced chicken, turning occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the pieces are slightly charred.
Shawarma Spice Blend #2 for Poultry
- Combine ½ cup ground turmeric, ½ cup ground cumin, ½ cup ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons each ground cardamom and ground coriander in a small bowl and mix well.
- Store in a covered jar.
Excerpted from Israeli Soul © 2018 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2018 by Michael Persico. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.