Saturday, March 2, 2019

Chicken Shawarma

My beautiful Angel and I recently purchased an air fryer.  I have been intrigued by air fryers for quite a while.  Generally, I do not like to deep fry foods, and, for that reason, I do not own a deep fryer.  Moreover, when a recipe calls for something to be fried in 2 to 3 inches of oil, I find a different way to cook it.  Often times, I use the broiler, the grill or a wok.  It was my effort, however little, to try to cook in a healthier way.

Last Christmas, I got an air fryer book from my parents as a gift. The book has a lot of great recipes, which I want to make. Recipes such as African Piri-Piri Chicken drumsticks, Gai Yang (Thai-Style Cornish Game Hens), and Tandoori Chicken.  It is not just chicken, there are interesting recipes like Dukkah Crusted Halibut, Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ Pork), and Nem Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Sausages. Needless to say, I have a lot of cooking ahead of me. I have started a label, "Air Fryer Recipe," to keep track of all those recipes and my cooking.

For the first air-fryer recipe, I decided to make Chicken Shawarma. This is obviously not the classical shawarma, as the air fryer does not come with a vertical spit attachment.  There is also no layering of marinated meats, such as chicken, lamb, beef or even goat.  Instead, this recipe calls for the use of a spice mix that recreates the smells and flavors of shawarma. The mix used in the recipe was the classic set of ingredients: oregano, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ground pepper, cayenne (or hot) pepper and salt. (To be sure, other recipes may add ingredients like cardamom, but the mix in the recipe was very good.)

More importantly, Chicken Shawarma was probably the easiest recipe to make in the book. It was culinary equivalent dipping your toes in the shallow end of the pool.  A quick way to try out the air fryer to see how it worked and whether the end result would be delicious.  I am happy to say that the result was very delicious.  I can't wait to try some more of the recipes in this book.

Recipe from Urvashi Pitre, Every Day Easy Air Fryer, pg. 63
Serves 4

Ingredients (for the Shawarma Spice):
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Ingredients (for the chicken):
1 pound, boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (or breasts), 
     cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.  Prepare the chicken.  In a small bowl, combine the oregano, cayenne, cumin, coriander, salt, cinnamon and allspice.  In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, vegetable oil, and shawarma spice to coat.  Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 

2.  Cook the chicken.  Place the chicken in the air fryer basket.  If using dark meat, set the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If using white meat, set the air fryer to 350 degrees for 10 minutes (turning the chicken half way through) and then set the air fryer to 400 degrees for 2 minutes.

3.  Finish the dish.  Transfer the chicken to a serving platter.  Serve with tzatziki and pita bread, or with rice. 

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