Chicken shawarma sandwiches

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Chicken, marinade and bread:
2½ tbsp lemon juice
3 small garlic cloves, crushed
20g fresh ginger, finely grated
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¾ tsp sweet paprika
1½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tbsp sumac
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¾ tsp ras el hanout;
8 chicken thighs, boneless, skin on (800g net weight)
90ml olive oil
25g chopped coriander, stems and leaves
4 large flatbreads such as pita or naan
Salt and black pepper

Red onion and cucumber salsa:
1 red onion, thinly sliced (100g net)
½ a large cucumber, thinly sliced (180g)
20g chopped dill, plus extra to garnish
4 tsp sumac
4 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
Tahini sauce:
2½ tbsp lemon juice
100g tahini
15g parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 small garlic clove, crushed

35g coriander, roughly chopped
20g parsley, roughly chopped
3 green chillies, des-seeded and roughly chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cardamom
A pinch of caster sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil

The shawarma marinade also works very well with a leg of lamb. Instead of making zhoug you can use a commercial savoury chilli sauce such as sriracha. Serves four


First make the marinade. Combine the lemon juice, garlic and ginger in a large bowl. Dry-fry the spices on medium heat until their aroma is released and then add these to the bowl, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and ¾ teaspoon of black pepper. Pat dry the chicken pieces and place them in the marinade along with 5 tablespoons of the olive oil and the fresh coriander. Massage the mixture into the chicken well, cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to marinade for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.
Place all the ingredients for the salsa in a small bowl, along with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Mix well and set aside.
Put all the ingredients for the tahini sauce in a food processor adding a 90ml of water and a pinch of salt and blitz until completely smooth with the consistency of honey. Add a little more water if it is too thick to pour.
Place all the ingredients for the zhoug in a small food processor bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water and a ¼ teaspoon of salt. Blitz in a few pulses to get a coarse paste; make sure not to over mix.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place a large ridged griddle pan on high heat. Once red hot, cook the chicken pieces for 3 minutes on each side until nice and brown. Transfer to an oven tray to cook the meat through in the oven; about 6 minutes. Allow to rest for a few minutes before cutting the chicken into 1 centimetre thick slices. Any remaining juices from the pan can be drizzled over the meat.
Wipe off most of the residues from the griddle pan and add the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Drizzle the flatbreads with a little water, just to moisten on the outside, and place in the pan for about a minute on each side, to warm up. Lay out each pita sheet and spoon over some tahini sauce. Place some chicken pieces on top of this, followed by the salsa and 1 tablespoon per serving of the zhoug. Finish with a sprinkle of parsley and dill, roll the pita together and serve at once.

Perfect with

  1. Ground cardamom |

    Ground cardamom

    The calm queen of spices, for sweet and savoury cooking

  2. Sumac |


    Yotam's desert island spice, for a lemony kick to your cooking


{based on 5 reviews}

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  • Shop Boy what a marinade!
    (28/06/2015) This marinade is just the most delicious I've ever made! I left out the ras el hanout because I had everything except that in my pantry already and it was still awesome. I have made the chicken about 5 times and its been wonderful every time. Simple perfection
  • Shop Good, but didn't quite hit the spot
    (03/02/2015) Despite what other reviews say, it isn't particularly easy to prepare. There's nothing difficult about the prep, but it takes a while. It turned out fine but the marinated chicken stuck to my griddle pan (because it was so hot, as the recipe recommends?), and the kitchen became engulfed in smoke. The flavours were good but the tahini dressing was too sharp and acidic. I think greek yoghurt would be far better, and much less sumac overall

    REPLY: "Sorry to hear it wasn't a complete success with your chargrill. Some pans - particularly those with deeper ridges or pans which are a bit old - can catch the meat but, yes, ventilation is always the key when chargrilling. What kind of tahini were you using? Some varities can be a bit more claggy than others so that could be it but, yes, if you were finding it all a bit sharp then decreasing the sumac is a good idea!"
  • Shop Wonderful
    (11/06/2014) This has become a favorite in our house.so so tasty and very easy to prepare.
  • Shop Great!
    (26/01/2014) I cooked this today for lunch in a very rainy day, automatically I picture myself with my family in Spain eating this around the pool. Beautiful to look at and to eat!
  • Shop The perfect TV dinner !!!
    (20/11/2013) What an outstanding recipe this is !!!! Forget fajitas as this recipe is a hundred times better. I made it for a Saturday night supper in front of the TV. What wonderful flavours and an easy and versatile dish. Highly recommend and would urge you to try this recipe.