• Marinated chicken kebabs with preserved lemon and harissa yoghurt dressing (djej mechoi) (Ainsley Harriott's Street Food)Source: Ainsley Harriott's Street Food

“In the Medina of Fez, I was mesmerised by the colourful stands selling spice mixes, bowls of fiery harissa and great piles of shiny olives and golden preserved lemons. It takes about a month to ‘pickle’ the local whole lemons in brine, but when they’re ready they have a unique flavour and salty tang that goes brilliantly with chicken cooked on coals. You can preserve lemons at home if you like a bit of pickling, but you can also find them in most good delis.” Ainsley Harriott, Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (113 votes)


  • 4 preserved lemons, quartered, pithy flesh removed and discarded
  • 2 tbsp (heaped) chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • good pinch of saffron threads
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 kg boneless and skinless chicken, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
  • 2 small red onions
  • flatbreads, to serve



  • 125 ml (½ cup) plain thick yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp harissa paste, to taste
  • 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.


Marinating time 30 minutes or overnight

Finely chop 4 of the preserved lemon quarters and place in a bowl. Add the parsley, garlic, paprika, cumin, turmeric, saffron and olive oil. Season to taste and stir until well combined. Add the chicken, stir to coat well, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if time permits.

Cut the remaining preserved lemons quarters lengthwise each into 3-4 strips, depending on their size. Cut the red onions into similar-sized pieces. Thread the lemon, then onion and chicken alternately onto long metal skewers– you’ll need 8 skewers in total.

Heat a barbecue or heavy-based ridged frying pan until smoking hot. Cook the kebabs, turning occasionally, for 4-5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through and just beginning to char around the edges.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine well.

Serve the kebabs on hot flatbreads with a good drizzle of dressing. 


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.