One chef, one recipe: Shawarma bowl by Sakshi Sureka

This deconstructed version of a shawarma has been popular with millennials for a while now, and Sakshi Sureka’s version makes it yummier than ever.
Shawarma bowls got a whole lot healthier with sakshi sureka's version
Shawarma bowls got a whole lot healthier with Sakshi Sureka’s version

Be it burritos, poke, BBQ, or even shawarmas, the trend of deconstructed bowls has been popular for some time now. Food bowls have made appearances across fast-food chains and people can’t get enough!

What makes a food bowl a practical offering for restaurants is their highlighting of grains and vegetables, making it less reliant on meat. Additionally, they often consist of simple and cost-effective ingredients and travel well to the boot. 

In this instance, the much loved Levantine Arab dish has made its mark across the globe and traditionally consists of hummus, tahini, thinly sliced meat of a vertical rotisserie, and other condiments that may be locally favoured. With flavours as bold as they’re comforting, it’s only natural for the bowl version of it to blow up in the food circuits. 

What young gourmand Sakshi Sureka has done with this recipe is a healthy, Indianised version of the dish. In a bowl, of course. Instead of rice, you can substitute for the more flavour appropriate couscous, as well as paneer in lieu of meat. 

Homely zest is sakshi sureka's passion project
Homely Zest is Sakshi Sureka’s passion project

Owner of her passion project Homely Zest, a cloud kitchen in South Kolkata, this young entrepreneur is all about wholesome comfort meals with a modern twist and continental flavors modified to suit the Indian palate.

A student of International Business at a London-based institute, Sakshi started her food delivery business at a seemingly difficult time during the pandemic. However, that didn’t get in the way of her endeavour to be environment-friendly. Instead of plastic disposables, she uses glass utensils along with wooden trays for food packaging.

Being a travel buff and a foodie imbibed inside, she has acquired the talent of trying and replicating authentic flavors to perfection, allowing her customers of all age groups, to try out global cuisines, under one roof. 

And the same reflects in this recipe, where you’re free to customize it to your liking as you please, with no compromise on taste

Shawarma bowl recipe


For marinated cottage cheese 

  • 100 g cottage cheese, cubed
  • 15 g coriander powder
  • 10 g cumin powder
  • 10 g red chilli powder
  • 150 g hung curd
  • 5 g garam masala powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 10 g ginger
  • 10g garlic powder
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 10 g fresh thyme
  • 5 g fresh oregano
  • 30 g tahini paste
  • 30 ml sesame oil
  • Oil, for grilling

For couscous base 

  • 50 g couscous
  • 5 g oregano
  • 5 g coriander, finely chopped
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 350 ml hot water to cook the couscous

For pickled vegetables

  • 100 g carrot
  • 100 g cucumber
  • 50 g beetroot
  • 45 ml white wine vinegar in 200 ml water
  • 60 g sugar
  • 10 g salt
  • 5 g coriander seeds
  • 5 g cumin seeds
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 2 1-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise

For hummus

  • 15oz chickpea, boiled and rinsed
  • 4 tbsp Tahini paste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 5-6 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together and marinate the cottage cheese for about an hour.
  • Heat the grill pan. Add the oil and grill the cottage cheese.
  • In another bowl, add the couscous and pour the hot water on top. Cover and cook for 5-7 mins.
  • Once the couscous is fluffed up, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  • For the pickled vegetables, combine the water and the spices in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add the vegetables and cover it
  • For hummus, mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Puree for about 3-4mins until creamy and smooth.
  • If the consistency of the hummus is still thick then add a few more spoons of cold water. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.

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