Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Recipe: Whole chicken shawarma from the slow cooker

In the slow cooker, adding the rub
Finished cooking, just put it on a plate.
Here is another family favourite. When we lived in The Netherlands we sometimes got Shawarma from the Shawarma take-away. In The Netherlands it is actually written differently: Shoarma. Either way, all of us loved it. Frequently we would get it with mushrooms and peppers added or things like that. There were quite some varieties possible in most of the take-aways. But since we moved the first time to the UK we haven't had it much anymore. When we lived in The Netherlands the last time somehow in the area where we lived then there were mainly döner take-aways there. So we hadn't had it in many years. So when I read about it again a few years ago I realised how long it had been ago since we had it and how initially we had all craved it and the kids had asked about it. At some point they asked me to make it myself. But I couldn't see myself buy one of these upright grills or how to actually make it. It looked very difficult from the way they made it in the take-aways. So I had forgotten about it altogether for years. Until a few years ago when I read about it. At that point it was described on how to make it as a roast in the oven. Of course that worked. But it didn't taste as great as I remembered it. So I started tweaking the recipe and read up on other sites about it and asked friends from the Middle East how they made this type of food. So slowly but carefully I ended up getting it better and better. But then I got lazy and found it too much effort to make a roast in the oven. I started reading a bit more and looked up whether I could make it in the slow cooker. I found that some had done it with good results. So I had to try of course. The first time was right away a great success. The whole house smelled wonderful and everyone was more than ready for dinner by dinner time, they had been smelling it all day long LOL. Since I have made it quite regularly and because we love it so much I felt I should share it with you. We usually eat it with pita breads, garlic sauce, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and cucumber. Not everyone eat all with it. I love the raw onions, my kids not so much :-)

Origin: Middle east
Just before eating

Difficulty: easy

Time: 8 hours
Serves: 6 
Traditional/GAPS/SCD legal, Primal


  • Slow cooker

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • butter, chicken fat or such
Things to do ahead:
2 days ahead - thaw chicken in fridge
1 day ahead - start sourdough pita breads
1 day ahead - make garlic sauce


  • Grease the slow cooker with butter, chicken fat or such.
  • Make a nice rub with all the spices, yoghurt and lemon juice. 
  • After mixing it well, rub it all over the chicken, which you could cut in bits if you prefer. I usually keep it whole. 
  • Put the chicken in the slow cooker and turn in on low for 8 hours. or 4 hours on high.

Possible substitutions:
dairy - coconut
butter - coconut, tallow, etc.

Ready to dig in