Shawerma (شاورمة) is one of those beloved street foods that is very difficult to replicate at home. It is known as guss (كص عراقي) to Iraqis. What it is, is stacked fillets of chicken or beef on a huge skewer the length of a man’s arm, that have been marinated in a special mix for a day (sometimes two), and are cooked on a revolving spit.The golden crispy exterior that gets cooked is skillfully shaved off, exposing the next layer which will undergo the same crisping process. The shaved meat is then either stuffed in a sandwich or served on a platter with a variety of accompaniments, typically consisting of garlic sauce, french fries, pickles, grilled onions and tomatoes, and onion-sumac relish. This recipe is adapted to replicate the famous guss in a humble pan-fried at-home manner. Choose fatty steak that is thinly sliced for best results.
500g thinly sliced fatty steak
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup apple vinegar
1 tsp 7-spice powder
1 tsp salt, and pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
Put all the ingredients except of the meat in a blender and blend until smooth and homogenous.
Place the thinly sliced fatty steak in a glass bowl (a metal bowl will react to the acidity of the lemon and vinegar so avoid it) and pour over it the yogurt marinade.
Stir well to coat all the meat, cover in plastic and refrigerate overnight or 24 hours.
To cook, heat a pan over high heat with a dash or two of oil. The pan must be very hot when you put the meat so it will immediately sear, thus sealing in the natural juices and not dry out.
Do not over-crowd the pan and sear the meat to a golden brown in batches.
Serve with some pita bread, onion-sumac relish, and a variety or pickles.