Chicken Shawarma with tahini sauce and pickled red onions #7recipes7days

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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 3-6):

  • 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

Method:

  1. 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 corriander, lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, 3 tbsp olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.
  2. 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 1 1/2 hours minimum.
  3. Boil a kettle full of water. Finely slice the red onions. Place in a pan of boiling water, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Preheat your oven to 180C. Once the yoghurt and onions are prepared, place a large griddle pan (or frying pan if you dont have one) on the highest heat possible. Once up to heat, place the chicken in the pan, and cook for 3 minutes, until well coloured on all sides, but not cooked through. Once cooked, drain any juices from the pan into a bowl. Place the chicken on a baking tray, and cook in the oven for 5 minutes, until there is no pink meat. Remove from the oven, and again drain any  juices into the bowl.
  6. Once out of the oven, place the chicken on a platter/bowl and cover with foil, leaving it to rest for 5 minutes or so.
  7. Clean the pan you cooked the chicken in, and bring it back up to a medium heat. Sprinkle a bit of water on the pitta breads. Place the pittas in the pan, and cook until they puff up, turning often.
  8. Once the chicken is rested, drain any further juices into the bowl, and 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.

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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!

OT x

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