Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to Make SHAVERMA! (Shaurma): Basic and Loaded

I guess it's about time I posted a "Russian" (it's actually more middle Eastern) recipe on here!

Shaverma is a favorite street food in St. Petersburg, not sure about other parts of Russia. It's the local version of various ingredients wrapped in a bread product and topped with a sauce! Gyro.... tortilla... kabob... nope, SHAVERMA! It's common to deny liking this popular dish, as the ingredients may be of unknown origins...but come on, it's delicious! All the more reason to make it at home without that stigma.

ALSO (see photo), Andrei and I discovered another version which is called "Shaverma on a plate." I'll call it "loaded" Shaverma here. We (he) recreated it at home, and it's awesome!

What's so yummy about shaverma? First of all, the meat is flavored nicely. And then, the sauce really ties it all together. It's sort of a homemade ranch dressing. Details below!

"Loaded" Shaverma (sans pita)...I can't get enough of that sauce!
Recipe after the jump...

Version #1

"Basic" shaverma involves spicy chicken morsels mingled with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, topped with sauce and wrapped in a pita or flatbread. It sounds simple but it's SO good.


-chicken breast (boneless thighs also work and are even more tender)
-fresh cucumbers and tomatoes (best in season)
-spice mix, including ingredients such as: cumin, cardamom, paprika, curry, cinnamon, cloves, coriander

-kefir or buttermilk
-thick sour cream
-lemon (juice of)
-dry spices, salt/pepper to taste
-dried or fresh herbs (preferably dill and parsley)


1) Mix whichever of the dry spices you have/prefer with some cooking oil. Cut chicken in small pieces and marinate while you're making the sauce.

2) For the sauce: Mix together equal portions of kefir/sour cream/mayo (let's say 1/2 cup of each). Add the juice of 1/4 lemon, a tbsp of sugar, and a little salt. Add 4-5 pressed cloves of garlic, and finally the herbs. Blend well and then add more salt and pepper/additional dry spices to taste. Chill.

3) Chop tomatoes and cucumber; prepare the type of wrap you are using.

4) Remove chicken from marinade and saute in a frying pan. Add more seasoning to taste.

5) Assemble chicken, cucumbers and tomatoes on pita or wrap, leaving room to roll it up. Top with dressing and additional herbs if desired, and roll up.

Okay, I didn't explain that well, but it's basically like making a fajita. :)

Version #2

Additional ingredients: marinated garlic, hot peppers, dill pickles, radishes, lettuce

"Loaded" shaverma is served on a bed of pan-fried potatoes and garnished with additional ingredients such as pickles, radishes, marinated garlic, and hot peppers. I just love pickled/marinated veggies, so I'm sure that's partly why it appeals to me...I just love that salty/garlicky/tangy bite!

1) Peel potatoes and place in a bowl of water.

2) Prepare sauce (see above).

3) Place chicken in marinade (see above).

4) Prepare potatoes: cut into matchsticks or coin-sized pieces, cook as desired: sauteed on the stovetop or roasted in the oven.

5) While potatoes are cooking, prepare garnishes: wash lettuce leaves and spread them on individual plates, chop other veggies and have them all ready to go.

6) Saute chicken as above.

7) Spread out potatoes on top of lettuce, followed by chicken, veggies, and finally the sauce.

Obviously this second way is a little more labor-intensive, but it is also a bit more impressive and filling! You can serve pita or flatbread on the side if desired.

Come and visit and we'll make it for you and you'll see for yourselves. ;)

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