Chicken Shawarma with tahini sauce and pickled red onions
Updated: Jan 2
It’s the last recipe of the week, but what a recipe it is! There is a restaurant in St. Albans called the ‘Med Grill’ who do chicken shawarma, and it is one of the tastiest dishes I’ve had. It inspired me to find a recipe for it, and when I eventually found one, it was so, so good. It’s slightly more labour intensive than some of the others I’ve put up, but its so worth it!
The chicken thighs allow you to give a good charring on the outside (giving great flavour), whilst maintaining moisture, and keeping the meat succulent. The spice mixture is out of this world, giving a completely balanced flavour profile to the chicken. I’ve changed it slightly from the original recipe (which can be found on waitrose.com), and I think it tastes mega. The sauce, although slightly bitter on it’s own is the perfect accompaniment to the chicken, and the onions give a lovely refreshing tang. Without further ado, here’s the recipe:
NB: This recipe makes 6 full pitta breads, which 3 starving growing lads demolished, but this could easily be enough for 6 people with smaller stomachs!
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
10 chicken thighs, de-skinned and de-boned
Large knob of ginger, grated
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons (may need 1 more, depending on taste)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Large bunch of coriander, finely chopped
6 white pitta breads
1 red onion
200g plain greek yoghurt
3 tbsp tahini paste
For the spice mix
6 cardamon pods
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp 5 spice
1 tsp tumeric
Pat dry the chicken thighs with some kitchen roll, and place in a large bowl. Add the ginger, 4 of the 5 minced garlic cloves, 2/3 of the coriander, lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, 3 tbsp olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.
Remove the seeds from the cardamon pods, and blitz in a spice grinder (or food processor) or crush in a pestle and mortar. Add this, along with all the other spices, to a dry pan on a medium heat, and toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once fragrant, tip the spices into the bowl of chicken, and mix thoroughly, making sure every piece has a good coating. Cover the bowl with cling film, place in the fridge, and leave to marinade, overnight if possible, but 90 mins minimum.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Finely slice the red onions. Add into the pan and cook for 1 minute. Once this time is up, drain the onions, and refresh immediately with cold water. Pat dry, and place in a bowl. Cover the onions with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and leave. Stir occasionally. Mix in a sprinkle of the chopped coriander at the end.
In a separate bowl, mix the yoghurt, tahini, the juice of 1/2 lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Finely mince the remaining clove of garlic. In a small frying pan, over a medium heat, add a touch of olive oil, and fry the garlic just until it starts to go golden. Do not let it go brown. Remove from heat, and add to the mixture. Add water until it reaches your desired consistency (something similar to the consistency of honey works well).
Heat your oven on its 'grill' setting (or a very hot temperature if you don't have a grill). Place the chicken on a tray and cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. It should be slightly charred on the outside and cooked all the way through. If it needs more cooking, return to the grill, or finish off in a hot pan if you want more colour. Once cooked, cover with foil and let rest for 3-5 mins.
Sprinkle a bit of water on the pitta breads and either toast them or place them in a frying pan, and cook until they puff up and colour slightly, turning often.
Once the chicken is rested transfer all of the chicken onto a chopping board. Roughly chop (hack) the chicken into small chunks with a heavy kitchen knife (cleaver would be ideal). Transfer the chicken back onto the platter, and spoon over the bowl of resting juices, and mix through. Serve with the yoghurt, onions and pittas.
I really hope you have enjoyed the 7 recipes I have put up, and would love it if you would share 1 of them with someone who you think would benefit from it. Similarly, if you could let your friends or colleagues know about my Instagram (@OTCooks_Eats), it would be much appreciated. I try to put a lot of effort into making tasty food, and if you or anyone you know would benefit from it, then its all worthwhile. Thanks again, and keep cooking!