Being a Delhi guy I felt that the first post I should do is something from back home. So, here goes:
Shawarma is a Lebanese fast food product which is very popular in the Middle Eastern country as part of the contemporary Arab cuisine. How is it prepared? Well, predominantly, it is made as a non-vegetarian treat with the meat being roasted on a vertical spit or a rotisserie. At times, the meat may be allowed to slowly roast for as long as a day. The meat used is generally lamb, chicken, turkey, beef or a mixture of these. In India (being somewhat conservative in the variety of meats), chicken is mostly used. And for the vegetarians, cottage cheese (paneer) is also used in certain places.
Shawarma being prepared
The meat or the paneer is marinated with a special variety of spices and sauces which varies from place to place depending on the wishes of the owner and popularity among the customers. This huge block of meat is placed in a vertical spit for the roasting process. Now, shavings are cut from the large block of meat for serving. The remaining meat continues to get gradually roasted and the process is continued till the entire block disappears. Trust me, that does’t really take that long. 😉
A Shawarma Salad
A Shawarma Roll
The shavings are mixed with tomatoes, cucumber and onions and can be served in two ways. In most places, it is served as a wrap cut into half. A Shawarma Roll. The roll is accompanied by a specially prepared mayonnaise. Occasionally, you may come across places where the stuffing is not wrapped but just given in a plate- A Shawarma Salad.
Wrapped or not, this Lebanese fast food is surely getting widespread. The portion of meat is fulfilling enough to make up for your missed lunch or even a late evening snack. The spices are added appropriately to adjust this foreign delicacy to the tongue of an Indian foodie.
I had my first experience with this awesome food when I was pretty small. That is, 8-9 years old. And back then, this place was the only place that made these heaven-in-mouth eatables.
The place is called Al-Bake. Situated in the posh Community Centre Of New Friends Colony, the place is a one stop place for people who work in the nearby offices and students on working days. It’s impossible to get a seat on weekends and still, large groups of people with families too wait their turns. That’s how good this place is. It is famous in Delhi for it’s Chicken Shawarma Rolls but it also serves other Tandoori items that you find around. You can get more info about this awesome place from the link: https://www.zomato.com/ncr/al-bake-new-friends-colony-new-delhi
I’ve had Shawarma rolls from a lot of other places too. But, call me nostalgic or a true foodie, nothing has beaten this place yet. Currently, I have my share of this dish around my college from a place specialising in wraps called WRAPSTO. I really appreciate the courage of this joint to try and introduce the Shawarma to the people of Bhubaneswar. But, they still have a long way to go to make it right. These people are just serving wraps, Al Bake gave an experience that is unforgettable.