“By the edge of the Bosphorous in the heart of Istanbul, commuters refuel with tea and grilled mackerel sandwiches. Finished with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of Turkish red chilli paste, this street snack has remained unchanged for decades and evolved from times when the fishermen grilled fish on their boats and sold it to the locals. I decided to put my own spin on this local classic by adding a cooling, but spicy yoghurt dressing.” Ainsley Harriott, Ainsley Harriott's Street Food






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (9 votes)


  • 4 mackerel fillets, skin on, trimmed and pin boned
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • good handful soft lettuce leaves, coarsely shredded
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 large baguette, split in half, then cut into 4


 Mint yoghurt dressing

  • 6 small cornichons, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped mint
  • 200 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 small green chilli, thinly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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.


To make the mint yoghurt dressing, place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Season to taste and refrigerate until needed. 

Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over high heat. Brush the mackerel fillets with the oil, then place in the frying pan, flesh-side down. Cook for 1-2 minutes until crisp and golden brown, then turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until just cooked through. The cooking time may vary depending on the size of your fish fillets.

Meanwhile, place the lettuce, tomatoes and onion into a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then squeeze over the lemon juice. Divide the salad between the pieces of baguette, then top with a cooked mackerel fillet and spoon over a little yoghurt dressing. Serve immediately on plates or wrapped in paper just like they do in Istanbul!


Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food starts Thursday 6 August 2015 at 8.30pm on SBS and finishes 1 October 2015. Visit the Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food program page to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes and read our interview with Ainsley.