Shawarma Basics

Shawarma is a Levantine meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, buffalo meat, or mixed meats are placed on a spit, and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Shawarma can be served on a plate , or as a sandwich or wrap. Shawarma is usually eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, and amba.

Shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat on a vertical spit. An onion, a tomato, or a halved lemon is sometimes placed at the top for decoration. The meat is roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of, or over, a flame for hours . Gas or electric heat is used; formerly, there was a cage holding burning charcoal or wood. Some restaurants offer two or more meat selections; many have just one.

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