February 2, 2023

Jim and I are big fans of Sam’s Mediterranean Cuisine at the corner of 3rd and B. It’s a decades-long love affair, pretty much our go-to for take out and one of our favorite bleacher dinners during Little League years. There is one dish that we order there — provided they haven’t run out of rice, which happens a bit too often — the chicken shawarma (over rice). The chicken is roasted on a spit and whatever Sam does with his seasonings, it works for us. It sets the standard for chicken shawarma, and none other has ever come close.

When I was down at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa last week, I bought a few jars of sugars and spices from the Whole Spice folks. (They are a local business and have some great looking stuff… like, for example,. vanilla sugar and cocoa sugar, which will be great sprinkled onto the frothy milk layer of my coffee in the morning!) But I was most excited about this:

I’ve never made shawarma before and hoped it might be as good as Sam’s.

It wasn’t.

However, it was good! I made some greek tzatziki to go with it (I improvised with some yogurt, garlic and cucumber), but have since found a recipe for shawarma yogurt sauce (yogurt, tahini, garlic, dill, mint, lemon, salt) and will try that next time.

Looks a little lacking on the plate, but, again, it was pretty edible. Forgot vegetables! Next time a cucumber and tomato salad. Here’s a close up:

So.. it’s thinly sliced chicken breast, marinated in a mix of olive oil and the shawarma spice. You saute some chopped onions in olive oil, then add the chicken and saute it until done. That’s it. I served it with basmati rice made with onion, garlic and pine nuts.

We might try concocting our own version of shawarma spice. Or…. just go to Sam’s.

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