Hello my loves!!
PSA: Most of my recipes are on my Instagram blog @flowerknafeh, so head over there if you want more regular recipe uploads!
It seems like yesterday, I was trying to establish my blog as a regular hobby and I used #BlogItIntoExistence to write about how I wanted to go vegan. Here I am writing a vegan shawarma recipe! So, this happened almost as an accident because I wanted to buy shiitake mushrooms, but I ended up buying a box of a mixture of shiitake maitake and oyster mushrooms. I made a mini vegan barbecue and just as the mushrooms were about to expire, I decided to wing it and make vegan shawarma.
I loved shawarma growing up and when I went vegetarian in 2014, it was something I really felt like I was missing out on. But I just went with the journey and if I was really craving shawarma, I’d cheat and have one. Of course I’d feel bloated and horrible after because my stomach wasn’t used to digesting meat. Later on, I would start using soy-based “meat” and even took a trip all the way to East London to try some vegan shawarma, but it still wasn’t it!
Looking back, I think it was the oyster mushrooms that gave the strong “meaty” taste and texture.
For mushroom haters, you wouldn’t eat unseasoned chicken and expect it to taste nice, right? So why would you do the same with mushrooms? Marinade, season and cook with love, culture and joy.
I wanted it pure, proper, tangy, juicy Arab style. Seasonings and everything. I decided to try to use these leftover mushrooms to marinate. I had around 150g of mushrooms left over so I winged it. I used around 2 teaspoons of the following spices:
The best thing is to use ready made shawarma spices. I used Abedo shawarma allspice – but here are the ingredients in case you want to use stuff from your own spice cupboard:
Black pepper, cinnamon powder, ginger powder, cardamom, summac, cloves, nutmeg, citric acid, mahlab (if you can’t find mahlab individually, skip it and add extra summac and use equal parts of everything but half the amount of nutmeg)
Essentially, use equal amounts of all the spices but add less nutmeg.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
(Garlic and onion powder are used to help plant sources taste more “meaty”)
1 teaspoon of pomegranate molasses
1/2 an onion – chopped in thin slices
– add 1tbsp of olive oil to your mushrooms and gently mix
– Add your spice mix gradually (if you want to taste the marinade, you can)
– Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours
There are three ways you can do this
– Cook for 30 minutes on gas mark 3, flipping them over halfway and adding your thinly sliced onions
– 5 minutes before it finishes, add 1tsp of pomegranate molasses (add gradually and more to taste), mix again and back in the oven
– If you want it to be more crispy, keep it in the oven for a bit longer
– Fry on medium heat with the onions, adding olive oil or water if the onions get too crispy
– When almost done add your molasses and let sit until it’s crispy enough
– Fry it according to the instructions of frying thin veggies on your machine
– Flip halfway adding the onions
– When it’s almost done, add the molasses and leave for an extra five minutes
Really, just do it how you want to do it! I used pickles, tomato, lettuce, hummus and added some vegan mayo. With the leftover I went Lebanese style and sprinkled the shawarma over hummus!
I love you all! Don’t forget to share this recipe with all of your vegan friends – especially if they’re Middle Eastern! The struggle was real for me and I don’t want any of us Arab vegans to feel like we can’t eat our childhood favourites again!