deconstructed shawarma

Deconstructed shawarma

The most loved street food, now at your home! This street food is coming all the way from Middle East. Yep, shawarma it is, not as a wrap, but a better version of it – deconstructed shawarma! This version is so much fun to make than the wrap!

We all love street food so much and shawarma is a step above everything else. This deconstructed shawarma is a version of the original one, the roll that we get in all street food shops. It has all the components of a shawarma, not as a roll, but in a plate.

For those who do not know what shawarma actually is, it is kind of a wrap. It is made with pita bread and stuffed with grilled meat (lamb, mutton, turkey or chicken). Along with it, we also add some vegetables (like tomato, cucumber), olives and pickles. Although this differs from one shop/restaurant to another, these are the most common components in shawarma. Apart from these, the flavor imparting component in a shawarma is the sauce that we use.

Talking about the sauces,  there is usually a toum (garlic sauce), tahini (a roasted  sesame seed dip), tzatziki (a curd dip) and even chili mayonnaise. Oh and also, the ultimate combination for shawarma would be some fries, as given in street food shops or even some coleslaw would be so good with it.

The meat for shawarma is actually grilled in a vertical rotisserie. Thin slices of marinated meat is stacked up in a vertical rotisserie and grilled for hours. The outer most-part of the meat is shaved off to make the shawarma. This is how street side shop vendors and restaurants also make shawarma.

The idea of this deconstructed shawarma is so interesting. Serving all the components of the shawarma in a plate, it involves so much of creativity. What I like about deconstructing food is the idea that is behind it.

So, what is a deconstructed food? For those who do not know about it, deconstructing a recipe involves breaking a food into the individual components that come together to make that recipe. It is not broken down all the way to the raw ingredients used. Instead we break it into different components and bring it together to make a different recipe with the same flavor.

deconstructed shawarma

For example, for a shawarma, the main components are pita bread, grilled chicken, the sauces and some salad. These come together as a wrap. So a deconstructed shawarma here in my recipe, has all the different components that I mentioned above presented individually in a plate and not as a wrap.

You can also make shawarma bowls, kind of like a grilled chicken salad served along with bread. You get the idea right? We serve it in a different way rather than the typical one without changing the core ingredients.

In my version of deconstructed shawarma, instead of using boneless chicken, I have made use of chicken legs and I have grilled the same. This is the only difference in the components between a shawarma and my version of a deconstructed shawarma. Other than that, instead of using fresh vegetables directly as a salad, I prepared a coleslaw with pickles, olives and even jalapenos included.

I made sure to stick on to the original recipe. For the chicken marinade too, I have used the same spices that I normally use to make shawarma. So, these are really long explanations. I want you to go and prepare this deconstructed shawarma right away and relish it.

Enjoy this deconstructed shawarma with your loved ones! I served some coleslaw and also pickled onions by the side. You can limit it to a simple vegetable salad too! Stay safe; stay healthy! Happy cooking and eating!

While you are here, do checkout my Arabian rice recipes to prepare for a powerful Middle eastern touch! Try my mutton seekh kebab and shish taouk recipes for a Middle eastern style spread! Do checkout my other grilled recipes for a smoky feast!

deconstructed shawarma

Has meal planning been a little bit difficult during this lockdown? Look through my No Veggies, 21-Day Lockdown Series for ideas on what to cook during this lockdown.

If you have tried any of my recipes, then tag @the_busy_apron and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #thebusyapron. Also tag @TheBusyApron and share it on Twitter with the hashtag #thebusyapron

deconstructed shawarma

Deconstructed shawarma

Abhipriya Raghav
Our favorite street food deconstructed and presented in a plate with pita bread, grilled chicken, salads and some flavorful sauces too!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4 servings


To prepare the toum

  • ¼ cup garlic cloves
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp ice cold water
  • ¼ tsp salt

To prepare the tzatziki

  • cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 medium cucumber, unpeeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, as required

To prepare the chili mayonnaise

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • ½ tsp chili flakes

For the coleslaw

  • ½ medium red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ½ medium green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, julienned
  • 2 tbsp black olives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp gherkins, chopped
  • 2 tbsp jalapenos, chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • salt, as required
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

For the pita bread

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • tsp salt
  • 1+1 tbsp olive oil

For the chicken marinade

  • 1 kg chicken drumsticks
  • 4 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • tbsp sumac powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • tsp nutmeg powder
  • ¼ tsp cloves powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, as required


To prepare the toum

  • In a food processor, add garlic, salt, cold water and some lemon juice and pulse it until it forms a paste. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil in a very thin stream alternating with lemon juice. Repeat until it becomes fluffy and fully incorporated. Transfer and chill before serving.
    deconstructed shawarma

To prepare the tzatziki

  • Squeeze out as much water as possible from the grated cucumber and add it along with the other ingredients in a bowl. Mix to combine. Chill before serving.
    deconstructed shawarma

To prepare the chili mayonnaise

  • In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, sriracha and red chili flakes together. Chill before serving.
    deconstructed shawarma

To prepare the coleslaw

  • Thinly slice the carrots and the cabbage, chop the olives, gherkins and jalapenos. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix to combine. Chill before serving.
    deconstructed shawarma

To marinate and grill the chicken

  • Except for the chicken, add all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Make gashes in the drumsticks and mix the marinade with the chicken. Let it marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. Grill the chicken in a grill pan/tawa/oven or in an outside grill.
    deconstructed shawarma

To prepare the pita bread

  • In a large mixing bowl, add lukewarm water, sugar, instant yeast, salt and olive oil. Mix gently.
    deconstructed shawarma
  • Add the flour, little at a time and mix well. Knead until it forms a smooth dough.
    deconstructed shawarma
  • Add some olive oil in the walls of the bowl and on the dough. Cover and let it proof for at least 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
    deconstructed shawarma
  • Punch and knead the dough once again after proofing. Divide equally into 4-5 dough balls. Roll into a slightly thick disc and cook on a heated tawa until it puffs up and cooks well on both sides.
    deconstructed shawarma

To serve

  • Serve either as a wrap, combining all the components or in a plate as deconstructed shawarma.
    deconstructed shawarma


  • While making the toum, you can cut the garlic in half and remove the germ. This is optional though.
  • Make sure the food processor or blender does not heat up while making the garlic sauce as it might make the sauce to separate.
  • Alternate between the lemon juice and olive oil to smoothen and thicken the sauce. 
  • For the tzatziki, do not peel the cucumbers.
  • If you cannot find dill leaves for the curd dip, then replace with mint leaves.
  • For the chili mayonnaise, you can replace sriracha with any hot sauce or even red chili sauce.
  • Let the sauces and dips sit for sometime before serving for all the flavors to get infused.
  • Chilling the sauces and dips is completely optional.
  • Let the chicken marinate at least for an hour before grilling. Marinating it over night is preferred.
  • If you are using 1 kg boneless chicken, then add some more of all the spices used,
  • To make it as a wrap, spread the sauces on the pita bread, place some shredded grilled boneless chicken along with the salad. Roll it and serve.
  • Instead of the coleslaw, you can make a simple vegetable salad combining onions, tomatoes, cucumber and any other desired vegetable.
  • If you are using active dry yeast, then combine water, sugar and yeast and let it sit for 15 minutes for it to proof before adding the flour.
Keyword chili mayonnaise, coleslaw, deconstructed shawarma, grilled chicken, pickled onions, pita bread, plate shawarma, salad, shawarma, toum, tzatziki