Suya (Shawarma Style) Wrap

Funke Koleosho's Suya (Shawarma Style )Wrap

There are some street/fast foods that are just too challenging to replicate at home.....but in order to quench one's craving for such food (particularly when one cannot readily get the real thing), then one can improvise.

Because no one chef/cook/food enthusiast can claim to know it all, myself inclusive. There are just certain foods you ought to leave to the experts to produce, mainly because they have spent a lot of time working on the recipes and perfecting them. I am known for my lack of desire to replicate, verbatim, recipes from other cuisines...partly because quite often, it is difficult to source all those exotic ingredients. So I improvise and put my spin on them!

Shawarma (also known as doner kebab), a street food popular in many middle eastern countries, is made by marinating meat (which could be beef, lamb, chicken or turkey) in a blend of carefully selected spices and slowly grilled for as long as 24 hours with a special grilling equipment called the (rotating) spit. As the meat rotates round the spit grill, thin pieces of it, is sliced off and placed into a flat bread (wrap) or pita bread along with some salad leaves, tahini sauce, yoghurt, garlic sauce. These are the traditional accompaniments, but other sauces and condiments can also be included as addition or substitute. Its my believe that the spice combination and the method of grilling define the taste and flavour development in a good shawarma and that may be difficult to replicate at home.....or is it?

Shawarma, the Nigerian version (with my own delicious twist!)
There is a big Lebanese community in Nigeria and they introduced shawarma to us. It has become such a popular fast food option for many, especially university students and youths generally.

Quite naturally, some of us food enthusiasts have attempted to create a simple recipe to replicate this food at home albeit with the few spices we can lay our hands on. I have been told that the traditional spice combination is quite complex and it may not be that easy to find some of them readily.

My conclusion is, if you are able to create an adequately spiced (spicy) and properly grilled, flavourful and juicy meat pieces, then you are half way done. The next challenge is to find find sauces and salad leaves to go with it.

Suya (Shawarma Style) Wraps

Because there are some similarities in the way Nigerian Suya is grilled and the way shawarma meat is grilled, I decided to make Suya (Shawarma Style) Wrap. Its not quite the same thing but they are not miles apart in terms of taste and deliciousness! I will tell you again; for that unique Arabian taste, buy some from the experts, but for times when you have a craving for middle eastern style meat wrap, then you must try my Suya (Shawarma) Wrap.....details below. (This post is a special request from the WDN team and subscribers,,, hope you like it!)

What you need
  • Some good quality beef, lamb or chicken suya (any one you prefer. You can make yours at home (see recipe here) or you can get some from your favourite mai suya)
  • A couple of flat bread, either tortilla wraps or pita bread. (You can now purchase square rather than circular wraps, which are easier for wrapping)
  • Finely shredded cabbage (make it a combination of red and white cabbage if possible. The colour contrast is fab)
  • Finely shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Finely shredded onion
  • Finely sliced tomatoes
  • Finely sliced sliced cucumber
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut butter (optional, but I find its a good replacement for tahini paste)
  • Salad cream. (Some people prefer salad cream to mayonnaise. I use either depending on which is available at the time. The dressing used contribute much to the overall taste of this dish.)
  • Some lemon juice

What to do
  1. First prep your salad leaves by rinsing under tap water and finely slicing/shredding about the same size of the sliced meat. 
  2. Then in a separate bowl, add a dash of lemon juice to the cabbage. This will help to soften it a bit and make them easier to bite and chew. 
  3. Toss the shredded cabbage around in the lemon juice for even distribution. Allow to tenderise for a little while then transfer into another bowl.
  4. Add the remaining sliced vegetables (cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes and onions). Add a generous amount of salad cream (as you prefer). 
  5. On a large plate, place the finely sliced well spiced suya meat pieces and add a drizzle of olive oil. 
  6. Then add a teaspoon or two of peanut butter (if using). Work into the meat for even distribution.
  7. Heat up the flat bread for about 10 seconds each in a microwave (or you can heat it up using a non stick frying pan). Take proportionate quantities of the meat slices and the salad, place onto the flat bread and roll. Serve.

Suya (Shawarma Style) Wraps

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