Chicken Shawarma Rice is a Middle Eastern dish that consists of spiced-infused, marinated chicken that is baked and then sliced into pieces. It is alongside yellow rice stir-fried with onion that is complemented with assorted vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, and lettuce. The dish is then drizzled with yogurt garlic sauce and hot sauce that is presented on a plate.
Shawarma is a popular street food in the Arab world and you can find it in most food stalls in local streets. It has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century in the Arab Levant Region during the Ottoman Empire, which the term ‘Shawarma’ originates from the Turkish word ‘çevirme,’ meaning ‘turning’ in Arabic. This makes sense since the meat is seasoned and stacked onto a vertical rotisserie which is then slowly cooked while turning, giving a succulent and flavorful taste.
Traditionally, Shawarma is served in the form of chicken, lamb, or beef every country has their variation of making this dish. For example, in Middle East and Arab cultures, it is commonly enjoyed as a sandwich, wrapped in flatbread or samoon bread, or sometimes even with rice. In other countries, such as the Philippines, shawarma rice is a popular street food that features meat, rice, vegetables, and white sauce.
Because there are different variations of shawarma in the way it is served, I have made my version of the Chicken Shawarma Rice recipe using Middle Eastern spices that is delicious and authentic. I made this for my Arab relatives and they absolutely loved it.
I. Marinating the Chicken Shawarma
Chicken Thigh- I am using boneless chicken thigh as my protein since it is much juicer and tender than the chicken breast.
Shawarma Spice– This is just a combination of cumin, coriander, and turmeric which I mixed together for picture purposes due to limited space in my plate.
Spices– In addition to the shawarma spice, I also use paprika which adds color & smoky flavor; onion powder, and garlic powder.
Yogurt– The yogurt is served as a tenderizer which the creaminess will make the chicken moist and tender. In addition to that, it also helps balance the acidity and the spices.
Lemon– Along with yogurt, the yogurt adds a natural tenderizer to the chicken and adds a mild acidity flavor.
Salt and Black Pepper– These two will enhance the overall taste by bringing out the flavors of the other ingredients.
II. For Shawarma Rice
Rice: You can use either long-grain rice like basmati or jasmine rice since they are both known for their fluffiness.
Turmeric: The turmeric is what will add the golden hue to the rice.
Vegetables: The vegetables I am using include cucumber, tomatoes, and lettuce which I chopped into pieces. They are meant to serve as a complement to the rice.
Olive Oil and Red Onion: I am using extra virgin olive oil to saute the red onion before mixing it with the cooked yellow rice. This method helps add a rich and savory flavor.
Liquid Seasoning (Optional): Although this is optional, I like to add liquid seasoning that contains soy sauce since this will add savory and umami elements to the rice, enhancing its overall taste.
III. For the Sauce
White Sauce: The white sauce I am using is my homemade yogurt garlic sauce which the recipe ingredients are discussed in a separate post
Red Sauce: I am using siracha sauce since it blends well with my shawarma rice.
I. For Marinating the Chicken
Step 1: I placed the boneless chicken thigh into the plate bowl.
Step 2: I add all the spices, yogurt, and the lemon juice.
Step 3: Mix them gently with the spoon or your clean hand.
Step 4: After that, I covered it with plastic and stored it in the fridge for up to 2-3 hours to absorb the flavor.
II. For Baking the Chicken
Step 5: Once the chicken is marinated, I transfer it into the pan in preparation for baking in the oven. I placed the foil below to prevent the chicken from sticking to it.
Step 6: Preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F and wait till it becomes hot.
Step 7: Place the marinated chicken into the oven and let it bake for 30 minutes.
Steps 8 & 9: Once the chicken is baked for 30 minutes, I transfer the rack above before putting the chicken back. This will brown the chicken and make it crispy.
Step 10: Broil it for 8-10 minutes and after that, you will have a perfect texture of the chicken which is juicy on the inside but mild crispy on the outside.
Steps 11 & 12: Lastly, I transferred the baked chicken shawarma into the cutting board, and then sliced it into smaller pieces. Set it aside.
III. For Making the Rice
Step 13: While baking the rice, I am cooking the rice at the same time which I mixed the rice with water and turmeric.
Step 14: To make it easier, I use the rice cooker since this will help cook the rice by itself. Once done, set it aside.
IV. Stir-frying the Rice
Step 15: add olive oil to a large pan.
Step 16: Once the oil is hot, I add the chopped red onion and saute for a few minutes or until it becomes translucent.
Step 17: Next, I added the cooked turmeric-infused rice and then gently mixed it together.
Step 18: After that, I added 2 tablespoons of liquid seasoning and gently mixed to combine before turning off the heat.
Final Step: To serve my chicken shawarma rice, I place the rice, sliced chicken shawarma, and assorted vegetables on a plate. Drizzle it with yogurt white sauce and red sauce and you are done.
Tips and Hints
- To last longer and prevent spoilage, store the leftover chopped chicken shawarma, sauce, and salad separately
- For faster time, you can saute the chicken in a pan instead of baking. However, baking often results in a nicer brown texture and juicier chicken.
- You can use my homemade Arabic salad recipe or other Middle Eastern salad variations like Fatoush or Tabouleh to complement the shawarma rice instead of using raw vegetables.
- For maximum flavor, marinate the chicken overnight.
- Use an air fryer if you don’t have an oven. Cook for 5 minutes on each side (10 minutes total) at 400°F or 200°C.
- For hot sauce, you can use siracha, tabasco, or any hot chili sauce desired.
Shawarma Sandwich- This shawarma sandwich contains fillings of chopped chicken, potatoes, cucumber pickled, and Toum sauce that is then wrapped in an Arabic flatbread.
Chicken Shawarma Tacos- This chicken shawarma is similar to sandwiches except we use mini tortilla bread and tahini sauce for taco serving. Also, the vegetable fillings that are used include sumac onion, chopped lettuce, and tomatoes.
Shawarma Pizza- This is a baked pizza that contains chopped chicken shawarma which is topped with black olives, red onion and it is drizzle with yogurt garlic sauce.
Other Middle Eastern Rice Recipes
If you are looking for delicious Middle Eastern rice dishes, here are the list of recipes you can try in your kitchen:
📋 Recipe Card
Chicken Shawarma Rice
Chicken Shawarma Rice is a Middle Eastern rice recipe that is mix with spiced chicken, yellow rice, raw vegetables, and drizzle with white sauce and hot sauce.
Marinating the Chicken Shawarma
- 500 grams of boneless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic Powder
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- ¾ cup of yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1.2 teaspoon of black pepper
For the Turmeric-infused Rice
- 1.5 cups of long grain rice Jasmine or Basmati Rice
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-sized of red onion for sauteing
- 3 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of liquid seasoning
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 Large tomatoes
- 1 head lettuce
For Marinating the Chicken:
Place the boneless chicken thighs in a bowl.
Add all the spices, yogurt, and lemon juice.
Gently mix the ingredients with a spoon or your clean hands.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours to allow the flavors to infuse.
Once the chicken is marinated, transfer it to the baking pan, taking care to line it with foil to prevent sticking.
For Baking the Chicken
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and allow it to reach the desired temperature.
Place the marinated chicken in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
After the initial 30 minutes of baking, reposition the rack above the chicken for browning and crisping.
Broil for an additional 8-10 minutes to achieve the perfect texture—juicy on the inside and mildly crispy on the outside.
Transfer the baked chicken shawarma onto a cutting board and slice it into smaller pieces. Set aside.
For Making the Rice
As the chicken is baking, simultaneously prepare the turmeric-infused rice by combining rice, water, and turmeric. For added convenience, utilize a rice cooker to allow the rice to cook independently. Once done, set it aside.
For Stir-Frying the Rice:
Heat olive oil in a large pan.
Once the oil is hot, sauté the chopped red onion for a few minutes or until translucent.
Add the cooked turmeric-infused rice to the pan and gently mix it in.
Pour in 2 tablespoons of liquid seasoning, gently combine, and then turn off the heat.
To serve the Chicken Shawarma Rice, plate the rice, sliced chicken shawarma, and assorted vegetables. Drizzle with yogurt white sauce and red hot sauce. Your delicious dish is ready to enjoy!
- The calories shown above does not include the yogurt garlic sauce.
- You can use other vegetable side dishes such as chopped cabbage or onion.
Calories: 550kcalCarbohydrates: 70gProtein: 30gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 600mgPotassium: 700mgFiber: 6gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 700IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 150mgIron: 4mg