When we first landed in Beirut in December 2017,  I’d get my big kids on the bus and drop off my youngest at preschool. Then I'd roam the streets of Achrafieh and Hamra, exploring every nook and cranny of that magnificent city.  Everything was as it was, back then. A relatively calm period before the massive storm. I'd spend the morning perusing the isles of fantastic old book stores that smelled like my Jido's sitting room in San Francisco, the shelves tightly stacked with volumes by  Khanafani, Darwish, Gibran and many others piled high on the musty carpet floors with Arabic titles I couldn't yet make out.

Then, I'd take long strolls through the fancy malls admiring chic fashions displayed in shop windows, gauking at the gorgeous jewelry and opulent homeware. It would have been about noon then and the street vendors would begin drawing near to their impressive shawarma roasts rotating on upright spits.... at least one, if not two shawarma stands line almost every tree-lined block of Hamra's neighborhood streets.  One place that  called my name for a quick lunch on the go was Barbar, a huge, bright outfit, smack in the middle of this part of town. Nothing like the aroma of shawarma djej or chicken shawarma wafting toward you to open your appetite. I'd ask for mine with extra cabis -- Lebanese pickles and a spot of toum--garlic sauce. 

This scene, which repeated its quite often throughout my time in Beirut, is the inspiration for Soul Roots Chicken Shawarma Spice.  It's those street chefs who revel in your smile after watching you take the first bite.  We've worked with them to bring you exactly the flavors we experienced at stands like Barbar, all over Beirut. 

Sahtain! - say they'd say, as they'd watch me devour! 

Shookran- Merci!- I'd answer.

To your Health. And to Hope! 

Beiruti Chicken Shawarma

2 lb thinly sliced chicken breast
⅔ cup  olive oil 
⅔ cup vinegar
2 ½  tablespoons Soul Roots Shawarma Spice

Combine sliced chicken breast and thighs with all ingredients. Marinade for 30 mins or up to 12 hours.  Preheat the oven at 425°F.  Place chicken and marination in a 9*13 \inch baking pan for 40 mins or until thoroughly cooked. If you want crispier chicken, finish off cooking time with the broiler setting for the final 3 to 4 minutes. Let rest for 5 mins. You can also drain the chicken and cook on a panini grill or flat griddle until fully cooked. Serve hot, wrapped in a pita, with a dollop of Creamy Garlic Toum Sauce and sliced Lebanese pickles.