Change Your Life Shawarma

Chicken, Dinner, To Try


Make the spicy oil. Use a gallon bag for the most ease. Stick one corner of the bag into a drinking glass or coffee mug. Pour in the oil, and add the spices directly on top. No need to mix the spices separately in a bowl first unless that’s a Magic Question choice. (More on that in Cheats and Preferences). Use your fingers to mix the spices into the oil (from outside the bag, not inside), still mostly confined to the corner of the bag. This keeps spices from clumping and not mixing well.

Marinate the chicken in the oil. Remember to season the chicken with salt

quite well first. Add the chicken to the bag, whole or in pieces (more on which later), and massage it together. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour for the best flavor and up to a day and a half beforehand, i.e. in the morning on a Monday for dinner on a Tuesday. Give it a squeeze once or twice during marinating time.

Roast, grill, or saute. We’ll lay out all three.

ROAST // Best if you need it quickly, don’t want clean-up, and plan to serve it in pieces. (If you know you’re going to roast it, cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks

before adding it to the marinade.) To cook, use a slotted spoon to move the chicken from the bag to a sheet pan covered in foil. Spread it out as much as you can, and roast in a preheated 450 oven for 10-13 minutes. No need to flip. This method makes the chicken incredibly tender. If you want a little crust, leave the pan under the broiler for an additional minute; just be sure to watch it. Toss the foil when you’re done. P.S. Throw some thinly sliced bell peppers tossed in oil and salt on the pan alongside if you want.

GRILL // Best if you want the most robust flavor. Bonus: clean-up is easy because it’s the grill. Keep the chicken thighs whole to marinate and grill. (Lazy Genius grilling tips are

here.) You’re looking at 5-7 minutes per side depending on the size. Remember that thighs are forgiving and tough to overcook. An

that’s the one I use + it’s an affiliate link FYI) is great here if you’re nervous. Look for 165 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer, the chicken should feel mostly firm, like the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger if you were to make a tight fist. Serve whole or cut into chunks for rice bowls, wraps, salads, etc. The chicken in the photo is grilled and shockingly delicious. We cubed it up and served it with rice and extras. P.S. Thickly slice onion circles, and grill them on the well-oiled grill. Salt them, please. Let them char next to the chicken, flip them like burgers, and you’ll be very happy.

SAUTE // My least favorite way but still great. You get the crust and texture of the grill, the quickness of the roast, but a little more cleanup, plus maybe a little kitchen smoke. You can saute the chicken whole or in pieces (I almost always prefer pieces) over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through. Once you put it in the hot pan, do not move the chicken for at least 3-4 minutes until it’s time to flip/stir it. That’s how you get texture and color. Sorry you have to wash a skillet. Turn on your oven vent.

Things You Can Do In Advance

Make the spice mix. Mix it in a bowl in the morning and leave it on the counter until you’re ready that night. Days, even weeks in advance is great; just put it in a container.

Cube the chicken. This is absolutely best done when the chicken is a little bit frozen. You just zip through it like a block of cheese, and it’s magically fast, your knife doesn’t slip, and it’s not as slimy.

Cook the chicken completely. It reheats like a dream on a sheet pan or even in the microwave. If you need dinner, like,

right now, already having it cooked works.

Prep whatever is going with it. Chop the tomatoes and cucumber. Make a tzaztiki. Wash some lettuce. Pull the pita bread out of the freezer. Use The Magic Question

“what can I do now to make dinner easier later?” - and answer it however you need to based on what you’re making.