Shawarma is an Arab meat preparation, where lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit.
It is similar to the dish called döner kebab ‘turning kebab’ in Turkish, and the Greek gyros ‘turned’, formerly called ντονέρ /doˈner/. A related Armenian dish is “tarna”, literally meaning “to turn”.
Shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat (beef, lamb or marinated chicken) on a stick—an onion or tomato is sometimes placed at the top of the stack for additional flavoring. The meat is roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of, or over, a flame for hours. Traditionally a wood fire was used; currently, a gas flame is common.
While cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife, an electric knife or a small circular saw, dropping to a circular tray below to be retrieved. Shawarma is eaten as a fast food, made up into a sandwich wrap with pita bread or rolled up in an Armenian Lavash flatbread together with vegetables and dressing. A variety of vegetables come with the shawarma which include: cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickled gherkins, and cabbage. You have the option to get French fries in some countries including: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, also countries in Europe such as Romania, Germany, Bulgaria and even the U.K.
Chicken shawarma is served with garlic mayonnaise, toum (garlic sauce), pomegranate concentrate, or skhug (a hot chili sauce). Once the shawarma is made, it might be dipped in the fat dripping from the skewer and then briefly seared against the flame. [*]