Here it finally is! The first episode of Abeer’s Day Off-a cooking show web series I put together with my family at Revive. Check out the first episode here! Then read on to get the story behind the recipe and all the details you need to make it yourself!
Pretty self-explanatory, right? The slow-cooked meat, tahini sauce, and sumac onions of a shawarma has a love affair with the toasty tortilla, rich crema, and fresh salsa of a taco. And although they’re not meant to be together, their paths cross and something beautiful is born-the Shawarma Taco. *insert heart eyes emoji*
I made this taco for my most recent supper club and it was such a hit that I decided to refine it and share it on the blog. The inspiration for this dish actually came a while back when I was in college speaking with a professor about his travels to Brazil. He mentioned a popular street food, Tacos Árabes, which was heavily influenced by the Middle Eastern immigrants that came to different parts of South America. When the spices, meat-cooking styles, and respective wraps of tacos and shawarma collided, tacos árabes were born. It stuck with me since and I’m so happy I finally decided to develop my own version.
For my Shawarma Taco, I slow cook beef shank with simple spices to let the meat and toppings shine-adding liquid smoke to give it a wood-fire cooked flavor. The fresh salsa switches it up a bit with parsley, red onions, and sumac-a tart, lemony Middle Eastern spice-to highlight the classic flavors found in shawarma and Middle Eastern salads. It’s all topped with a tahini crema and served in a flour tortilla. Now I’m usually a corn tortilla type of girl, but flour holds up to this hearty taco a little better.
When the flavors of some of the most popular street food combine, it’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. And hey, what better way to celebrate Presidential Inauguration week then with a dish highlighting the beauty of Middle Eastern and Latino culture combined? Who knows? Maybe the Shawarma Taco will be outlawed before we know it. So grab this recipe and enjoy them while you can! (Just make sure to save me one.) Cheers!
Check out the recipe below!
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 1 1/2-2 hours Yields: 6-8 servings
- 2 pounds beef shank, bone-in
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup Mexican-style crema or sour cream
- 2-3 tablespoons tahini paste
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- salt & pepper to taste
Sumac Onion Salsa:
- 1 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of sumac
- 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
Meat: In a cast-iron pot on medium/high heat, sear the beef shank in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add enough water to cover the meat. Add salt, pepper, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer on medium/low heat for 1 1/2-2 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.
Salsa: In a medium bowl, combine the onions, sumac, and salt and massage the onions and spices until fully combined. Set that aside while chopping the additional ingredients. Add the tomatoes, parsley, and salt to taste. Combine all together.
Crema: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Adjust salt, pepper, sugar to taste.
Building your taco: When the meat is done, remove it from any remaining liquid and shred it into small pieces. Toast your tortillas on the flame of your gas stove or in the oven. Build the taco layering the meat first, then salsa, and drizzling the crema on top. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on the tacos right before eating! Enjoy!