Shawarma, the Middle Eastern street snack, has evolved from a previous trend to a classic well assimilated into Filipino food culture. But its typical wrap or rice meal form can feel overdone if you’ve been enjoying one too many over the years. To this, we turn to shawarma as it’s enjoyed in other parts of the world, e.g. from the land down under. Australians find tasty refuge in what is called the Halal Snack Pack, a.k.a. the “Snacky”: a plate of kebab meat and a so-called “Holy Trinity” of barbecue, garlic, and chili sauces—plus cheese, if you’re up for it—on a bed of “hot chips” (essentially french fries). It’s as gut-busting as it is delicious; and though not often offered in local joints, you can make it at home.
Our simplified version is dangerously easy to make. For the meat we employ sirloin, tossed through with spices and allowed to char over the grill. Saucey goodness comes by way of a quick-mixing garlic sauce with garlic, yogurt, and lemon juice; and for the spuds, pick up your favorite bag of frozen fries and deep-fry away. Layer them through, top with cheese and chili sauce (optional, but it gives a great kick) and dig in. There’s little not to love, what with hot, crisp fries, flavorful meat, and sauce mingling in each forkful. It’s only a matter of time before the local food scene catches onto the snack heralded for its symbolification of Australia’s cultural diversity—and you can brag about being one of the first.
Shawarma Snack Pack
Serves: 4-6 servings
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour
1 whole head of garlic, crushed
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
500g sirloin, cut thinly
3 tbsp shawarma spice blend (see note below)
2 tbsp oil
2 pounds frozen French fries
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Chili sauce (optional, to taste)
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the garlic sauce.
In a separate bowl, add the sirloin, shawarma spice blend, and oil.
Toss until the spices are evenly distributed and the meat is fully coated.
Take a pan over high heat and grill the sirloin until cooked through and charred, about 10-12 minutes.
Prepare French fries according to the package instructions and place on a large plate/tray.
Top the fries with the shawarma spiced meat, cheese, and then drizzles of garlic sauce and chili sauce (if using).
Note:If you can’t find a pre-prepared shawarma spice blend, you can alternatively use a blend of equal parts dried ground oregano, cumin, turmeric, and garlic powder.
Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.