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Recipes: Shawarma chicken wraps, tamarind drink from 'An Edible Mosaic'

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Here's some more recipes from Faith Gorsky's "An Edible Mosaic" (Tuttle Publishing, 144 pages, $24.95), featured in today's Buffalo News.


Spiced Shawarma Chicken Wraps


Serves 8

Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus 2 to 24 hours for the chicken to marinate

Cooking Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

1 batch Shawarma Spice Mix (recipe below)

½ cup (125 ml) plain yogurt

1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 large cloves garlic, crushed

1½ teaspoons salt

2 lb (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for sautéing

16 flatbreads Garlic Mayonnaise (recipe below)

Pickles (recipe below)

Shawarma Spice Mix:

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground sweet paprika

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) (optional)


  1. Prepare the Shawarma Spice Mix.
  2. Combine the spice mix with the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F and spread 1 tablespoon of oil on the inside of a large baking dish. 
  4. Scrape off any excess marinade from the chicken with your hands. Starting in the center of the oiled dish, arrange the chicken so that it overlaps, and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on top. Bake (uncovered) 1 hour, or until the chicken is fully cooked; cool. (It’s done when you cut into the center and there is no pink.) 
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer it to a large cutting board; slice it very thinly across the grain, then transfer it back into the pan it was cooked in to soak up the juices (the chicken can be refrigerated this way for up to 3 days before continuing with the rest of the recipe, or you can continue after 10 minutes).
  6. Coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil. Once hot, add the sliced chicken and sauté until crispy and golden brown (you may need to sauté the chicken in two or three batches so the pan isn’t overcrowded).
  7. Spread some Garlic Mayonnaise in the center of each piece of bread; add some chicken and pickles (and any other vegetables you like) and roll it up.
  8. Toast the sandwiches on a dry griddle or a flat sandwich press so that the bread gets golden brown and slightly crispy.
  9. Serve as is, or cut into small rounds; serve with additional Garlic Mayonnaise for dipping.




Yields 1 liter (1.06 qt) jar of pickles

Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus up to 20 days for the pickles to ferment


1 cup (250 ml) hot water

2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar 7-10 Persian or Japanese cucumbers washed and ends slightly trimmed

2 cloves garlic, peeled

Purified water, to cover the cucumber

½ teaspoon oil


  1. Combine the 1 cup (250 ml) hot water, salt, and sugar in a large measuring cup with a pour spout; stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved and then cool to room temperature.
  2. Sterilize a 1-liter (1.06 qt) canning jar.
  3. Cut the cucumbers into spears by cutting them in half lengthwise, and then cutting each half lengthwise into 3 equal pieces.
  4. Put 1 clove of garlic in the bottom of the jar, add the cucumber spears, and then add the other clove of garlic on top.
  5. Pour in the water/salt/sugar mixture, then add enough purified water so that the cucumbers are completely covered, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of free space at the top.
  6. Let the jar sit at room temperature to form pickles. The pickles are ready to eat when the cucumber turns khaki green in color, and they smell faintly of vinegar. This will take about 5 to 7 days in hot weather and 15 to 20 days in colder weather.
  7. Once the pickles are ready to eat, drizzle in the oil and store refrigerated.


Garlic Mayonnaise



2 cloves garlic, crushed in a mortar and pestle with ½ teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites or 1 large egg

1 cup (250 ml) oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon cold water


  1. Crush the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle until it forms a smooth paste.
  2. Whisk together the garlic paste and egg until well blended.
  3. Add the oil, drop-by-drop, while whisking (after you’ve added 1 tablespoon of oil drop-by-drop, you can add the oil a little faster). Make sure the oil you add is fully incorporated before adding any more.
  4. Once you’ve added ½ cup (125 ml) oil, alternate between gradually adding the oil and lemon juice and continue mixing until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the cold water and mix until smooth and creamy.


Tamarind Syrup Drink


Yields 3 cups/750 ml of syrup

Preparation Time: 35 minutes, plus 12 hours for the tamarind to soak

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


7 oz (200 g) tamarind paste, cubed if in block form

4 cups (1 liter) water

2 cups (450 g) sugar


  1. Combine the tamarind paste and water in a medium bowl and let it sit for 12 hours.

     2. Bring the tamarind paste and the water it was soaked in to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat; boil 5 minutes, skimming off any foam from the top. Cool 30 minutes, then strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth, squeezing the cheesecloth to extract all the liquid.

     3. Bring the strained liquid and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; turn heat down and simmer 5 minutes.

     4. Cool the syrup to room temperature, then store refrigerated.

     5. To serve, dilute with cold water to taste (about a 1:1 ratio) and pour over ice.

 Recipes courtesy of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012).



Food and Drink
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