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Products

You Can Make Legit Shawarma At Home With This Vertical Oven

One of the coolest things things to see in a Mediterranean kitchen, or even a Mexican kitchen for that matter, is a vertical spit full of meat.

Whether it’s shawarma, kabobs, or al pastor, there’s just a little more showmanship and honestly a little more flavor when the meat is prepared on a vertical spit.

A vertical spit isn’t normally something you can just keep in your home kitchen, but there are actually at-home versions that’ll help you cook up your favorite shawarma, or even rotisserie chicken.

From this NutriChef rotating oven that almost looks like a blender, to a Thritop vertical oven, Amazon actually has a couple options on deck, which is pretty exciting if you’re a fan of this type of style.

Looking through the Amazon reviews, it looks like these have been around since at least 2017, which is a little maddening that we here at Foodbeast are barely coming around to finding these.

Is it exactly like the fiery vertical spits you see the local taco truck? No, but it’s still pretty awesome, and definitely going to be a new staple in my household.

 

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Hit-Or-Miss

What Superstitious Fans Should Eat For The Super Bowl

If you’re the type of sports fan who wears your hat inside out when your team is losing, or sits on the left side of the couch at the end of games, you’re going to want to listen up for the food versions of your Super Bowl superstitions.

Whether you’re a Rams fan, Patriots fan, or just a degenerate who put down $2,000 on one of those teams, Grubhub, the popular food delivery app, put together a recipe for success using eating trends from both Los Angeles and the greater New England area.

The gist of it is, Rams fans should eat beef shawarma, and Patriots fans should eat sausage pizza if they want their teams to win.

Grubhub came to these conclusions by analyzing the most popular orders put in on days the Rams and Patriots won this season.

On days the Rams won games, beef shawarma was 163 percent more popular in Los Angeles than any other order food order. Followed by mac & cheese, shrimp scampi, chicken alfredo, and ramen.

When the Patriots were victorious, sausage pizza was 181 percent more popular among New Englanders. After that, the most popular foods on victory days were eggplant parmesan sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, pork wonton soup, and cheeseburgers.

Most Popular Food Orders For Rams Wins

1. Beef shawarma (163% more popular)
2. Mac and cheese (115% more popular)
3. Shrimp scampi (110% more popular)
4. Chicken Alfredo pasta (105% more popular)
5. Ramen (103% more popular)
6. Chicken shawarma pita (103% more popular)
7. Penne bolognese (98% more popular)
8. Chicken masala (91% more popular)
9. Baba ganoush (91% more popular)
10.Lamb shank (77% more popular)
___________

Most Popular Food Orders For Patriot Wins

1. Sausage pizza (181% more popular)
2. Eggplant parmesan sandwich (171% more popular)
3. Ham and cheese sandwich (155% more popular)
4. Pork wonton soup (149% more popular)
5. Cheeseburger (127% more popular)
6. Pulled pork sandwich (127% more popular)
7. California club sandwich (123% more popular)
8. Garden roll (116% more popular)
9. Spicy edamame (101% more popular)
10.Eggplant parmesan (92% more popular)

Now you know what your Super Bowl party spread should look like. If you stray away from this formula, expect your team to lose. Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just tend to follow the supernatural ones.

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#foodbeast Features FOODBEAST

Instagram’s Hottest Mexican-Lebanese Fusion Restaurant Was Conceived In Prison

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Looking through the menu at Fatima’s Grill in Downey, California, you’d never guess it was mostly designed and envisioned within the walls of a prison cell. No, they don’t serve Ja Rule’s “Prison Casserole” or makeshift chocolate cakes, but its owner, Ali Elreda, spent almost eight years in The Federal Correctional Institution, Safford, working the kitchen, and dreaming of a day he could let his passion for food shine.

Fatima’s Grill beautifully marries Elreda’s Lebanese roots, with an appreciation for Mexican food that he gained during his time behind bars. He chose to work in the prison’s kitchen where he spent most of his days learning about cooking food (which he knew nothing about), Mexican culture from his fellow inmates, and how to be efficient under the pressure of having to cook for over 1,000 inmates.

“I was in the kitchen five days a week, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m,” Elreda said. “I would write down certain things that I came up with or would invent, and I had 1,500 inmates that I had to feed, so if I could please them, I knew I could please anybody.”

Elreda is very much open about his incarceration, because it is a chapter of his life he has comfortably put in the past. In the early 2000s, he was young, made some mistakes with bad company, and slipped up to the tune of 7-plus years of imprisonment for intent to distribute methamphetamines and cocaine.

Not an ideal path, but he regrets nothing, as his experiences led to his current success as a restaurant owner.

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Without his checkered past, there would be no Shawarma Quesarritos, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-topped carne asada fries, or tacos crowned with his hot sauce — which was inspired by ingredients straight from the Federal Correctional Institution, Safford commissary.

“I learned everything inside,” Elreda said. “My hot sauce came from the prison commissary…I had to go back to the place where I did time, just to get a copy of the commissary items. You can’t find those out here on the street.”

Without his past he also would have never met Jorge, the savvy cook who mans the kitchen at Fatima’s Grill, and has been by Elreda’s side from day one, helping him make these tasty and photo-friendly dishes.

One look at the Fatima’s Grill Instagram account, and you can tell Elreda is quite an eccentric character who’s having a blast feeding the city of Downey, CA. With every video of him cooking, bumping Cardi B and dancing around in the limited space within his kitchen, you get a glimpse of not only his infectious attitude, but his extensive and  mouthwatering menu.

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The menu itself can look a little intimidating, but at its core, the restaurant consists of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, wraps, and fries. From there, you can top or stuff anything with his halal-based meats, and even Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, if you’d like. All in all, he’s found a formula tailor-made for Instagram success, not only getting the Foodbeast seal of approval when we paid a visit, but getting rave reviews on Yelp, Google, and EZ Cater.

Elreda admits he’ll draw you in with his giant burritos, and Hot Cheeto mixtures, but he’ll keep you with the quality of ingredient and simple halal dishes such as the restaurant’s chicken kabobs and shawarma wraps.

All Elreda needed was an opportunity, and with help from family, lessons through a rough past, and a vision of blending two cultures together, the final result was a pretty special experience for customers.

“I said, ‘I’m gonna take the best of both worlds when I get out… let me see if I can put this together. Tacos, gyros, shawarma, quesadillas, let’s put it together,'” Elreda said. “And it worked.”

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Restaurants

This Restaurant Serves Tableside Shawarma You Can Slice Yourself

Photo Credit: @BrunchBoys

There are few things in this world as mesmerizing as watching someone slice roasted meat off of a spit. Many times have we stood on the opposite side of the counter top at the local shawarma joint, wishing we could just hop on over and slice off a piece of meat for ourselves.

Looks like a Lebanese/Middle Eastern restaurant in New York will let you do just that — at your table, at least. Au Za’atar, located in NYC, offers patrons a full-on shawarma slicing experience by offering what they call Table-Side Spinners, which are essentially mini roasting spits.

Table-side shawarma is the definition of LIT 🔥 @auzaatar

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Each spit comes complete with a bed of pita bread, vegetables, and fries. Currently, there are three meat options available: beef, chicken, and lamb.

After you slice your meat, it falls directly onto the bed of veggies and pita so you can just scoop up and enjoy. Man, sounds like the perfect family-style meal.

Because customers probably don’t want to wait hours for their meat to fully finish, the off-menu speciality needs to be ordered in advance — though they do have a couple ready-to-eat spits available for when the restaurant opens.

Photo Credit: @BrunchBoys
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Cravings Restaurants Video

This Eatery Sells Loaded Shawarma Fries Straight From A Spit

Watching shawarma being sliced off a spit can be one of the most sensual experiences in food, and being able to try that juicy blend of meat immediately after can truly leave you flush. The vessel you choose to get that shawarma inside your body, however, is completely up to you.

In downtown Santa Ana, CA, there’s a food hall called the 4th Street Market. Inside the market lies Falasophy, a Lebanese-fusion eatery that serves both traditional dishes and modern interpretations.

The dish boasts a fresh batch of salted fries, slow-roasted steak shawarma straight from a spit, cilantro garlic crema, jalapeños, pickled turnips, and a special cheese blend. If you’re feeling particularly peckish, you can always order a side of falafels to pair with your fries.

Next time you’re in the Santa Ana neighborhood, be sure to swing by and grab a plate of these savory shawarma fries. If you’re hankering for something sweet, the food stall also offers Nutella baklava.

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#foodbeast Features FOODBEAST Video

Shawarma Pizza Exists And You Won’t Have To Choose Between The Two Anymore

You know those late night adventures where you’re craving something and can’t decide between pizza and shawarma?

You won’t have to do that if your travels bring you to Foodbeast’s own festival, Meat Street Presented by the Makers of SPAM Brand at Main Place Mall, because we’ll have a shawarma pizza in the Meat Street Marketplace for you to chow down on, courtesy of the team at Hobo Co. Pizza.

Hobo Co’s pizza is a dope mashup of shawarma and pizza that brings together the best of both worlds. It’s got some righteous pizza dough coated in both tomato and tahini sauce, shawarma beef, and fresh mozzarella cheese. After being baked to a golden brown, the Shawarma pizza gets topped with fresh chopped parsley and pickled turnips, giving you a mix of rich, beefy, cheesy, and pickled flavors for a well-balanced pizza.

If you’re down with this combo, make sure to buy some tickets to Meat Street to grab a pie or two. We guarantee it’s gonna be a meat extravaganza with plenty of one-of-a-kind dishes like this shawarma pizza.

Categories
Culture Film/Television Opinion

Food Network’s ‘Shortcut Chicken Shawarma’ Is A Middle Finger To Authentic Shawarma Lovers

First-time shawarma makers looking for an authentic take on the beloved street food should definitely NOT use this recipe.

For those unfamiliar, shawarma is a traditional Middle Eastern street food item, made from slicing pieces of marinated and spit-roasted meat and cramming them into pita bread. It’s usually served with fresh vegetables, a tangy tahini (sesame seed paste) or yogurt-based sauce, and some optional pickled vegetables.

Food Network uploaded a video to Facebook claiming to be a “Shortcut Chicken Shawarma” that makes cooking the popular street food at home “EASY.” However, to call what Food Network has uploaded a “shawarma” is a true affront to the dish.

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This shawarma recipe, to be fair, is close to what a real shawarma is. However, someone not familiar with it could be cooking this recipe at home and could easily mistake this for real shawarma, proving to be an awkward and most importantly un-authentic first experience with the dish.

I understand that the Food Network was trying to make a shawarma recipe simple for anyone who’s never made it before and doesn’t know where to start. At the same time, I also know that Foodbeast has been attributed to promoting un-authentic takes on traditional global cuisines. However, we never claim non-traditional iterations to be “real” authentic dishes.

If left unchecked, this shawarma recipe could eventually become a reference for amateur cooks looking to try their hand at authentic shawarma, leading them astray of a true recipe for that street food as a result.

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My first concern with the shawarma recipe is the usage of pumpkin pie spice in the marinade. I get that using spice blends means you can purchase less and get a variety of spices, but when you incorporate them into a cultural recipe, make sure you get the spices right.

Real Middle Eastern spices for a shawarma involve ones like cinnamon and nutmeg, but also authentic aromatics like sumac and cardamom.

As bad as utilizing pumpkin spice is for a recipe, it’s nothing compared to how the recipe ruined the sauce by deciding to use the disgusting combination of hummus and mayo. They could’ve gone for a simple yogurt sauce, or a more traditional and tasty tahini-based dressing, both of which are zesty, light, and refreshing. Instead, we’re treated to a unappetizing glop of thick and vomit-like paste that can’t be saved by the paltry amount of fresh garlic mixed in to justify the hummus-mayo combo as a “garlic sauce.”

The proverbial cherry on top of this cultural disaster is the dill pickle that is added in at the last possible second. Yes, pickled vegetables are incorporated. No, that doesn’t mean throwing in a Vlassic spear. A quick run to a Middle Eastern or international market could yield a jar of pickled veggies in no time.

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Overall, the resulting recipe that comes out of this looks like shawarma and may evoke a similar flavor profile to shawarma. However, it is not true authentic shawarma, and for Food Network to advertise their recipe as such is cultural appropriation at its worst.

Get your head out of the gutter, Food Network, and get back to making legit recipes that won’t inspire people to mix hummus and mayo together.

Categories
#foodbeast Cravings Hit-Or-Miss Recipes

Shawarma Egg Rolls Are A Real Thing And Here’s The Recipe

shawarma egg rolls

If you don’t know what Shawarma is then you’re missing out on one of the most important Middle Eastern dishes you’ve never had. Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish comprised of either lamb, chicken, or beef that is prepared on a vertical rotating spit. A typical beef shawarma sandwich is served in a pita with gherkin pickles, turnips, parsley mix and a drizzle of tahini.

I’ve always been inspired by my Lebanese heritage and cuisine, considering that it was what I grew up with. So when Canada’s bad boy Josh Elkin came through the office this week, we grabbed some shawarma sandwiches in Little Arabia, located in the always sunny Southern California. As we were coming up with ideas for some new recipe videos, the thought of rolling up an entire shawarma sandwich inside an egg roll came to mind. Having an Asian girlfriend was my inspiration, but Josh had the know-how to make it possible.

On our way to the store we wisely consulted my Lebanese mother on how to get the the shawarma recipe just right. Although we don’t have a vertical spit for our shawarma, there’s still a way to to make our dreams come true using an oven and the right spices. Here’s the recipe below and check out the video for a detailed visual look.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 deep fryer or large pot
  • 1 basting brush
  • 3 liters of cooking oil
  • Egg Roll Wrappers
  • 1 plastic bag
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 pound of thin sliced flank steak
  • 1 cup of sliced pickled turnips
  • 1 cup of chopped gherkins
  • 1 cup of tahini paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup of red vinegar
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of shawarma spice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 largely sliced onion with pedals separated
  • 1 cup of finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of sumac spice

Preheat the cooking oil to 375 degrees F.

Step 1

Slice the flank steak into small bits and add it to a plastic bag. Add the red vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, onions, shawarma seasoning, lemon juice, and lemons and mix well. Put this in the fridge for about 2 hours (overnight is better).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2

Add the contents of the bag to a baking tray and cook for about 20 minutes or until the onions become wilted.

Step 3

Combine the parsley lemon juice and sumac in a small bowl and mix well.

Lay out one egg roll wrapper. Paint the perimeter of the egg roll wrapper with the beaten egg.

Step 4

Lay out some turnips in the center of the egg roll wrapper. Add the sliced pickles and some of the parsley mixture. Top it off with a few strips of the shawarma beef.

Step 5

Roll the wrapper from one corner to the next. Pull it back to create a cylinder.

Step 6

Fold in the two side corners of the wrapper over the cylinder and roll it up closed.

Place the egg roll into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and bubbly.

Step 7

Combine the tahini paste with water and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix until the tahini becomes a light, beige color. Season with more salt to desired taste.