If you didn't know this yet, now you do: I'm Canadian-Arab. So OBVIOUSLY I had to make a Shawarma Poutine. For this amazing fusion of two classics, you will be skipping the gravy and adding all the beef shawarma and tahini sauce. It's SO good - take my word for it.
What is a Shawarma Poutine?
I was first introduced to Shawarma Poutine at one of my favourite Middle Eastern restaurants in Toronto. And since then, it's been lingering in my mind to re-create at home with my own twist on it, and make it much easier as well. A typical Canadian poutine is made with fries, topped with cheese curds and gravy. My interpretation of a Shawarma poutine is to add Shawarma on top of the fries, but also to skip the gravy and instead use a tahini sauce. I've also added a few more elements to get a nice balance of sweet, spicy and salty.
With this recipe, you get crispy fries (I use packaged fries because its way faster but fresh fries work well too), loaded with perfectly spiced beef shawarma and melting cheese curds, smothered in my tahini yogurt sauce, and then topped with a bit of ketchup and green onions. The tahini yogurt sauce gives a nice zing from the garlic, the ketchup balances everything with a bit of sweetness and the green onions are a must for a punch. If you dare, you can also add some chilli sauce on top for spiciness (I didn't but next time I will!).
Tips for making Hungry Paprikas Shawarma Poutine with Beef
- Use well seasoned shawarma meat. I chose to go for beef in this recipe, but if you're a chicken lover, check out my sheet pan chicken shawarma and use that instead! I also mixed in onions with the beef to add sweetness and depth
- Add the cheese curds on top of the beef while hot. In a typical poutine, the hot gravy melts the cheese curds. Since we're using a cold sauce for the shawarma poutine, it's best to add the cheese to the beef as it's done cooking so they can melt. If you can't find cheese curds, you can substitute grated mozzarella (or your favourite cheese).
- Use at least 2 different sauces. This will work great if you just add the tahini yogurt sauce, but trust me, adding the ketchup gives it another dimension and adds sweetness. You can also use chilli garlic sauce, Thai sweet chilli sauce, or even honey garlic sauce.
- Serve it right away. If you're a seasoned poutine consumer, you know this to be true. Poutine is best served right away, and this one's no different. Otherwise you risk the fries getting soggy!
For more Middle Eastern sides, check out:
Shawarma Poutine with Beef
For the steak:
- Approximately 650g packaged frozen fries if making fresh fries, this is roughly 3-4 medium potatoes
- 0.5 kg striploin steak see notes
- Half a large onion
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the tahini yogurt sauce:
- ½ cup full fat yogurt
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 2 tablespoons tahini paste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cheese curds or grated mozzarella
- Ketchup per preference
- Chilli sauce or hot sauce per preference (optional)
- 2 green onions
- Start by slicing the onion into thin wings and the steak into strips. Ensure all the steak strips are roughly the same size for even cooking, and that you cut against the grain
- Mix together all the spices and marinate the beef and onions. Allow them to marinate overnight for best results. If you're in a rush, you can use them right away as well
- Prepare the fries by cooking them in the oven or the air fryer, per package directions (typically 20-30 minutes)
- In a non-stick pan or a cast iron skillet, add the vegetable oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Ensure the skillet is big enough for the steak to cook in 1 layer (or cook it in 2 batches - see notes)
- Add the steak and onions to the pan and allow them to sear on one side for 1-2 minutes without stirring. Flip and sear the other side for 1-2 minutes. Adjust timing depending on how you like your steak (I usually do 1 minute each side for a medium)
- Turn off the heat and add the cheese curds on top of the beef while still hot in the pan, to allow them to melt slightly
- Prepare the sauce by mixing together all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, whisking well to incorporate
- Finely chop the green onion
- Plate the shawarma poutine starting with a layer of fries, add the beef and cheese curds on top (which should be slightly melted), dollop some of the tahini yogurt sauce, squeeze a bit of ketchup all over it, and finally add the green onion
- Striploin steak tends to have a good amount of fat and is flavourful. If you don't have it, you can also use rib eye (even more fat) or sirloin. Flank steak will also work but is slightly tougher.
- If you use a small pan to cook the steak, it will steam the steak instead of getting a nice sear and crispy edges. Ensure the pan is big enough to cook the steak in one layer so all the pieces can sear evenly.
- Serving suggestion of 4 is if you're serving it as a snack/side. If it's a main meal, it will serve 2 people.