Wednesday, March 25, 2009

easy and ethnic


Ethnic-type cuisines can be so interesting to try because they use such wonderful spices without having to add too much extra fat for flavor. 

A new spice that I recently have been trying in recipes is sumac, which is featured here in a lamb kofta pita recipe.  It’s almost similar to coriander and lends a wonderful lemony flavor.  Another one of my favorites is cumin . . . smoky, rich and yummy! 

Mediterranean cuisine is one of my favorites with falafels, gyros and hummos topping the list!  The food is fresh, flavorful and chock-full of nutrients and fiber.  Many of the recipes are plant-based focusing on vegetables, whole-grains and protein-rich lentils and beans.  You can hardly notice any ‘meat’ missing because the flavors are so rich with depth.  But, of course there are some wonderful meaty recipes too.  Lamb has a really great flavor, although it tends to be on the expensive side. 

I first tried chicken shawarma here and instantly fell in love!  Of course I wanted to try to re-create this at home and it is incredibly easy to do.  Marinating the chicken and chopping some fresh veggies is pretty much all there is to it.  Give it a try! 


Chicken Shawarma

(adapted from CookingLight)


4 servings



  • 3  tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1  tsp  curry powder
  • 2  tsp  extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/2  tsp  salt
  • 1  tsp  ground cumin
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced (or you could use garlic powder)
  • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken tenders, cut into small strips

Remaining ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 pitas (up the fiber with whole wheat!)
  • chopped romaine lettuce and various veggies
  • non-fat greek yogurt for dipping (You can also mix in some tahini, garlic and lemon juice)
  • hummos is also a great dipping medium


1. Preheat grill (I used a grill pan) to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a zippy bag. Add chicken to bag; toss well to coat. Let marinate for about 1-2 hours.  If you marinate longer, more of the curry flavor will come out, but 100_2547it will still be good! I just wouldn’t recommend overnight with the acidity in the lemons.

3. Place chicken strips on heated grill pan coated with cooking spray.  Cook about 2-3 minutes per side or until done.

4. Simply stuff the chicken and veggies into the pitas and dollop a nice scoop of greek yogurt or hummos for dipping.   So yummy! 

Nutritional Information

Calories: 384 (23% from fat)
Fat: 9.8g (sat 2.1g,mono 4.1g,poly 2.7g)
Protein: 34.4g
Carbohydrate: 40g
Fiber: 2.5g
Cholesterol: 64mg
Iron: 4.3mg



100_2554I am so excited for the start of summer strawberries coming  up soon!  I have been craving them terribly, seeing them on so many blogs, but I can’t stand the ones that are hard and white.  My mom, who lives in North Carolina, has a strawberry farm right next to her house.  Those are the strawberries I cherish and can’t really find here in Vegas.  They are the tiny ones, so sweet, bright and juicy that they practically melt in your mouth!  Oh those are the strawberries I love.  Any who, I decided to buy some at Costco because I was craving them so bad, and while they aren’t those amazing NC berries, they aren’t too bad and will satisfy my strawberry hunger for now :)

What is your favorite summer time fruit and/or vegetable?  And what is your favorite way to use it?


Emily said...

Ohh...those look great! Where do you buy your spices?

I am a huge fan of Mediterranean food, too (especially hummus)!

Love your strawberries, too...I've been eating a ton of those!

kristen :) said...

I usually get my spices wherever I can find them! Usually it's Trader Joe's or a general grocery store, but it was a little harder finding sumac. I had to go to an Indian market/store to find it.
I know! It's so great to start getting summer fruit :)


Anonymous said...

I am loving your site! The chicken dish looks absolutely delicous. I love that the recipe is from Cooking Light, I LOVE that magazine!

Keep on with the great site, you are doing an awesome job and I can't wait to read more!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I live in NC!!! If you ever visit your mom maybe we can meet up too!

What a fantastic recipe, I have never heard about this ethnic chicken but the recipe looks really easy to follow and worth a try for sure!

Thanks for interviewing me too!! I just posted it!

Sweta said...

I love Shawarma-it's fun to see it being cut infront of you. This looks yummy :-)

Sweta said...

P.S: Love the nutritional calculation at the end. Reminds me of the endless calculations we had to at college and when I started my career :-)