Chicken shawarma sandwiches
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 fourView Recipe
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
2½ tbsp lemon juice
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
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.
Saffron chicken and herb salad
This colourful salad is extraordinarily moist and refreshing. It was created by the chefs at Ottolenghi in Belgravia and is a big hit there. The trick — boiling a whole orange and blitzing it down to a paste — is very effective for many sauces, salsas and cakes. If you don’t like fennel, replace it with a combination of spring onion and rocket. Serves 6View Recipe
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
about 300ml water
1kg skinless chicken breast
4 tbsp olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
15g picked coriander leaves
15g picked basil leaves, torn
15 picked mint leaves, torn
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Trim and discard 1cm off the top and tail of the orange and cut it into 12 wedges, keeping the skin on. Remove any pips.
Place the wedges in a small saucepan with the honey, saffron, vinegar and just enough water to cover the orange wedges. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about an hour. At the end you should be left with soft orange and about 3 tablespoons of thick syrup; add water during the cooking if the liquid gets very low. Use a food processor to blitz the orange and syrup into a smooth, runny paste; again, add a little water if needed.
Mix the chicken breast with half the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper, and place on a very hot, ridged griddle pan. Sear for about 2 minutes on each side to get clear char marks all over. Transfer to a roasting tin and place in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until just cooked.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, but still warm, tear it with your hands into rough and quite large pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl, pour over half the orange paste and stir well. (The other half you can keep in the fridge for a few days and would make a good addition for herb salsa to serve with oily fish such as mackerel or salmon.) Add the remaining ingredients to the salad, including the rest of the olive oil, and toss gently. Taste, add salt and pepper and, if needed, some more olive oil and lemon juice.