• Yotam Ottolenghi (Yotam Ottolenghi)Source: Yotam Ottolenghi

This chicken sandwich, made with a traditional Israeli marinade, is well worth the wait! The shawarma marinade also works very well with a leg of lamb. 






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (129 votes)


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

Red onion and cucumber salsa

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (100 g net)
  • ½ large cucumber, thinly sliced (180 g)
  • 20 g chopped dill, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt

Tahini sauce

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100 g tahini paste
  • 15 g parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 90 ml water
  • 1 pinch salt

Zhoug (see Note)

  • 35 g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 20 g parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 green chillies, seeded and roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch caster sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2¼ tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time 2 hours

To make the marinade, combine the lemon juice, garlic and ginger in a large bowl. Dry-fry the spices on medium heat, until aroma is released. Add these to the bowl, along with salt and black pepper. Pat dry the chicken pieces and place them in the marinade along with 75 ml of olive oil and fresh coriander. Massage the mixture into the chicken well, cover bowl and leave in fridge to marinade for 2–3 hours, or overnight.

To make the salsa, place the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

To make the tahini sauce, place the ingredients in a food processor and process until completely smooth and consistency of honey. Add a little more water if it is too thick to pour.

To make the zhoug, place all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse to a coarse paste. Make sure not to over mix.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat a large chargrill (ridged griddle) pan over high heat. Once red–hot, cook the chicken pieces for 3 minutes each side, or until browned. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for about 6 minutes, or until cooked through.

Rest chicken for a few minutes before cutting into 1 cm–thick slices. Any remaining juices from pan can be drizzled over the chicken.

Wipe chargrill clean and add the remaining olive oil. Drizzle flatbreads with a little water, to moisten on the outside, and place in pan for about 1 minute on each side, to warm up. Lay out each bread and spoon over some tahini sauce. Place chicken pieces on top, followed by salsa and 1 tablespoon per serving of zhoug. To finish, scatter with parsley and dill, roll pita to enclose te filling and serve immediately.


• Instead of making zhoug (green curry sauce), you can use a commercial savoury chilli sauce.