Chicken Shwarmas and Pickled Eggplant

Yasho and I get drunk ever so often, and then, at about 10 pm, we realize we might get hungry later into the night, so we order a couple of chicken shwarmas from Zaitoon. But then, one time, his girlfriend was visiting and she really wanted to meet me. (“Who is this weird woman my boyfriend loves getting drunk with?” or so you would have thought. But no, we’re a trustworthy bunch like that. Hah!)

Now, here’s the catch. She’s vegetarian. He loves hummus. So, I thought Mediterranean cuisine, or some variant of it.

I made some hummus. I made another dip called muhammara. I also quickly threw in olives, capers and oranges to make my favourite Marinated Olives. Then, I made a spinach, feta and oven-roasted tomatoes sandwich thing, quite on the lines of this recipe and something I’d look at as a non-pastry version of a spanakopita. And finally, I prepped some chicken shwarmas (because I have guests for dinner and there’s no non-vegetarian food!!! BLASPHEMY!) and vegetarian wraps.

Yasho brought some wine and the afternoon was perfect. (Except for the fact that there were no photographs. You should be used to that by now.)

I’ve made the chicken shwarmas a couple of times before and I have a picture from then. And I never got around to writing a post about them then. So here it is.

(Oh, I’ve also put in a recipe for some pickled eggplant in here. I usually add them to the shwarmas for that zing. I first ate pickled eggplant back in 2009 at the Maoz in Greenwich Village, New York City. Instant love. And I haven’t seen them anywhere else ever again. I tried making them, here in Bangalore, a few months ago and was quite pleased with how they turned out.)

I know the meat for the shwarmas is shaved off a block of rotating meat. I don’t have a vertical rotor. Well, all I really do have is my OTG. So I used that on “rotisserie” mode. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least. I used the marinade for the chicken from The Shiksa’s blog, where I’ve also subsequently found tonnes of interesting recipes.

For the grilled chicken:
Ingredients:
(Makes 5-6 shwarmas)
3 chicken breast pieces (boneless)
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 cloves of garlic, smashed or ground to a paste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon garam masala powder (kitchen king masala works too)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Juice of 1 large lemon
Method:
1. Marinate the chicken in a mixture of the ingredients above for 4-5 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat an oven to 200 F and stick the chicken into skewers. Then cook the chicken on rotisserie mode for about 10 minutes or until done.

For the shwarma sauce:
Ingredients:
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed or ground
1 teaspoons thyme
Method:
1. Mix all the ingredients into a smooth sauce.

P1030456_edit

For the pickled eggplant:
Ingredients:
1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup grenadine
Thinly slice aubergines (the long, thin variety)
Method:
1. Bring the vinegar, grenadine, sugar mixture to a boil and add the sliced eggplant to it.
2. Let this simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the eggplants take on a pink colour, have shriveled up a little and are tart yet sweet to taste.

P1030467_edit
(The little discs I’ve laid out on the lettuce are the pickled eggplant. I’ve also added them inside the shwarma.)

For the shwarma:
Ingredients:
Chicken, using the recipe above, shredded
Shwarma sauce, using the recipe above
Lettuce, sliced thin
Pickled eggplant, using the recipe above (3-4 eggplant discs per shwarma)
Chopped tomatoes, optional
Pita or flour tortillas
Method:
1. Mix all the ingredients (except the pita/tortillas) in a bowl. Taste occasionally. Add more shwarma sauce or salt/pepper to suit your taste.
2. Warm the pita and fill it’s pocket with this mixture, or fill the mixture in a tortilla and roll into a wrap.

Notes:
1. I used slightly thick, fresh, home-made chapatis to wrap the filling.
2. The grenadine I’ve used for the pickled eggplant is something I picked up in Paris. My sister sent me another bottle the following year. I use it ever so often to season salads. I wouldn’t recommend using grenadine syrup (which is awfully artificial and sweet). Instead, you could use store-bought (natural) pomegranate juice. (A decent Indian brand would be Real.)

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