A fresh cucumber salsa over roasted shawarma chicken on a charred tortilla. FUSION!
This is a recipe that takes my love of chicken shawarma and tacos to new heights. Chicken shawarma is this juicy yogurt-marinated chicken that blows most marinades out of the water. The yogurt helps all the spices stick to the chicken for maximum flavor. A great recipe for someone who loves shawarma, or wants to experience the magic. I love shawarma so much that I needed it in taco form. Started with a spicy pico de gallo to brighten up the chicken and spread a dollop of garlic Toum for some added flavor. This knocked my socks off. There is something about a taco that just makes the world feel right. A cute little explosion of flavor in just a couple of bites. Guaranteed you’re gonna scarf these down so fast.
We do not need marinade meat long. 20 minutes or overnight if it makes cooking easier tomorrow. Yogurt contains lactic acid that gently tenderizes the meat from the start. A classic shawarma marinating tool. A marinating myth is that the meat is infused with the marinade, but it only stays surface-level. We typically marinate food to tenderize the meat and have something for the spices to stick to. Would love to see more yogurt marinades out there.
For assembling, make sure to have all your favorite toppings ready. I love cheese and will always top my tacos with cheese, but cilantro and onion would be great here or your favorite hot sauce. Remember recipes are a template for you to make final decisions. Buy a store-bought pico de gallo or your favorite shawarma marinade, I’m just here to tell you this combination works!
Chicken Shawarma Tacos
Makes 8 tacos
20m prep time
20m cook time
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 limes, juiced and 1 zested
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup English cucumber, diced small
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced small
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 red jalapeno, diced small
- 1 lime, juiced & zested
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
- 1 cup garlic toum (see above recipe) or sour cream
- 1 package of flour tortillas
- Cilantro sprigs & lime for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a large plastic bowl for shawarma marinade and let chicken marinade for 2 hours or overnight.
- Toss all ingredients for pico in a bowl and taste for seasoning.
- Preheat an oven on broil or a grill to cook chicken. Season with salt and pepper, then cook chicken for 12 - 15 minutes. You want to develop a char on the chicken.
- Remove cooked chicken from sheet and chop into thin strips
- Heat up flour tortillas over an open fire or grill to get a small char on the outside.
- Assemble tacos with a spread of garlic toum or sour cream on the tortilla, then chicken, top with pico, and sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro.