Chicken Shawarma Wraps

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Ah wraps! Wraps are a popular dinner time food in our house.  In fact I can recall several dinner table conversations discussing how few foods there are that couldn’t be improved by being wrapped in a delicious floury tortilla! Lasagne – yes! Curry – defiantly! Pizza – It’s practically a wrap already isn’t it? Etc etc…

chicken swarma

This recipe is from the Ottolenghi Website and called for the more traditional use of pitta breads rather than tortilla – however never one to pass up the opportunity to ‘wrap’ something I couldn’t resist the replacement. I’ve had the Ottolenghi Cookbook for a while and to be honest found it a little hit and miss recipe wise – some have been fantastic and added no question into rotation, some I’ve found barely edible (although no doubt that’s down to me rather than Ottolenghi’s). So when I saw this recipe I kept my fingers crossed the result would be the first!

It defiantly was! Juicy tender chicken, creamy tahini, spicy fresh dressing and wonderfully aromatic with herbs.  The recipe may look a little involved at first glance but all the components are simple and come together within minutes. Plus you could always substitute (although I cannot encourage it!) the zhoug for a commercial hot sauce, or houmous for the tahini dressing – You would loose a little of the herby deliciousness in doing this but in a pinch it would do.

The chicken can be marinated well in advance, and each of the accompaniments can also be made ahead making it a pretty simple dish to bring together at the last minute. Apparently the marinade also works well with lamb leg although I’ve yet to experiment with that! I threw in a little aubergine just for a little vegetable interest, and you could very easily throw in any other veg if you wanted to stretch the dish a little further.

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Chicken Shawarma Wraps: (Serves 2)

Chicken and Marinade:

4 Large Chicken Thighs – Skinless and Boneless

1 Aubergine

1 1/4 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Good Pinch Ground Turmeric

Good Pinch Ground Cardamom

3/4 tsp Ground Cumin

1/4 tsp Paprika

1/2 tsp Ras El Hanout

10g Fresh Ginger – Grated Finely

2 Small Garlic Cloves – Crushed

Zest 1 Lemon

2 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil

4-6 Large Tortilla Wraps

ONIONS

Red Onion and Cucumber Salsa:

1 Small Red Onions – Finely Sliced into half moons

1/2 Large Cucumber – Thinly Sliced

2 Tbsp Dill – Finely Chopped

2 tsp White Wine Vinegar

1 tsp Olive Oil

Tahini Dressing:

1 1/4 Tbsp Lemon Juice

50g Light Tahini

2 Tbsp Parsley – Chopped

1 Small Garlic Clove – Crushed

DIPS 2

Zhoug:

3 Large Tbsp Coriander – Chopped

2 Large Tbsp Parsley – Chopped

1 Green Chilli – Seeds in or out depending on how hot you want it!

1/4 tsp Ground Cumin

Pinch Ground Cardamom

Pinch Sugar

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Make Your Marinade by combining the lemon juice, ginger and garlic in a large bowl. Heat the ground spices gently in a small dry saucepan until they release they’re aromas. Add this to the bowl along with half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Stir everything together along with the olive oil and lemon zest and massage it into the chicken. Cover and set aside for a few hours or overnight.

Dice the aubergine and place in a colander – salt very very well (the salt will be washed off so don’t worry – use plenty). After 1 hour wash the aubergine under cold water to remove the salt and leave to drain and dry before use.

Red Onion Salsa: Toss all the ingredients together with a pinch salt and set aside

Tahini Dressing: Put all the ingredients in a small food processor along with 45ml cold water and a pinch salt – blend until smooth and runny (add a little more water if needed – set aside

Zhoug: Put all the ingredients in a small food processor along with 2 tablespoons of water – Blend to a coarse and chunky paste – set aside

Oven 180C/Gas 4

Toss the aubergine chunks with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Spread out in a baking tray and put on the top shelf while you griddle the chicken. The aubergine will want about 25-30 minutes altogether.

Put a large griddle pan on a very high heat and get it red hot before putting on your chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes each side until nice and browned. Transfer to the oven for 6 minutes to finish.

Dice the cooked chicken and toss it with the aubergine and any juices from the pans. Serve with all your sides – along with a little dish of chopped coriander, parsley and dill and let people wrap their own to taste. Or if your me – piles of everything!

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