Although the roasting of meat on horizontal spits has an ancient history, the shawarma technique—grilling a vertical stack of meat slices and cutting it off as it cooks—first appeared in the 19th-century Ottoman Empire in the form of
doner kebab, which both the Greek
gyros and the shawarma are derived from. Shawarma, in turn, led to the development during the early 20th century of the contemporary Mexican dish tacos al pastor when it was brought there by
Shawarma is prepared from thin cuts of seasoned and marinated lamb, mutton, veal, beef, chicken, or turkey. The slices are stacked on a skewer about 60 cm (20 in) high. Pieces of fat may be added to the stack to provide extra juiciness and flavor. A motorized spit slowly turns the stack of meat in front of an electric or gas-fired heating element, continuously roasting the outer layer. Shavings are cut off the rotating stack for serving, customarily with a long, flat knife.
Spices may include
paprika, and in some areas baharat. Shawarma is commonly served as a sandwich or wrap, in a flatbread such as
laffa. In the Middle East, chicken shawarma is typically served with garlic sauce, fries, and pickles. The garlic sauce served with the sandwich depends on the meat. Toum or toumie sauce is made from garlic, vegetable oil, lemon, and egg white or starch, and is usually served with chicken shawarma. Tarator sauce is made from garlic, tahini sauce, lemon, and water, and is served with beef shawarma.
Israel, most shawarma is made with dark-meat turkey and is commonly served with
tahina sauce. It is often garnished with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, pickled vegetables, hummus, tahina sauce,
sumac, or amba mango sauce. Some restaurants offer additional toppings, including grilled peppers, eggplant, or french fries.
Georgia shawarma is traditionally made with thin cuts of marinated meat which is left marinating overnight in spices such as coriander, cumin, cardamom, paprika, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.
^الهواري, د عبد القادر.
أسلمة العالم (in Arabic). ببلومانيا للنشر والتوزيع. p. 54.
^Kraig, Bruce; Sen, Colleen Taylor (2013). Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. xxv, 18–19, 127–129, 339.
^Eberhard Seidel-Pielen (May 10, 1996).
"Döner-Fieber sogar in Hoyerswerda" [Doner fever even in Hoyerswerda]. ZEIT ONLINE (in German).
Archived from the original on December 25, 2021. Retrieved May 6, 2016. Neither in the written recipes of the medieval Arab cuisine nor in the Turkish cookbooks from the first half of the 19th century are there any indications. According to research carried out by Turkish master chef Rennan Yaman, who lives in Berlin, the doner kebab is an amazingly young creation of Ottoman cuisine. (Quote translated from the German)