Theo Michaels’ spicy chicken shawarma

My chicken shawarma is scented with allspice and smoked paprika and marinated in a vibrant yogurt mixture, bringing it all to the table for your gastronomic enjoyment! Using chicken thighs keeps the chicken moist and succulent, and grilling it this way gives you that smoky charring reminiscent of street food. Serve in gyro flatbreads with fresh salad accompaniments and Greek yogurt on the side, for everyone to help themselves as part of your meze board.

chicken shawarma
Mowie Kay

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

6 chicken thighs, boned, skin on
100g thick Greek yogurt
grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 fresh red chilli, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black peppera few sprigs of fresh coriander, to garnish

TO SERVE

Gyro Flatbreads, to serve (see below)

ACCOMPANIMENTS (OPTIONAL)

1 red onion, finely sliced
leaves from a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1⁄2 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
1⁄2 cucumber, finely diced
6 ripe tomatoes, diced
3 lemons, cut into wedges, for squeezing
125ml thick Greek yogurt

1. Preheat the grill to hot. Cut two deep scores across the top of each chicken thigh. Mix all the other ingredients (except the garnish) together in a non-reactive bowl to make the marinade. Add the chicken thighs, toss to coat, then cover and leave to marinate for 1 hour (or overnight) in the fridge. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before you plan to cook it to take off the chill.

2. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and arrange skin-side up and a few inches apart on a lightly oiled roasting pan. Cook under the preheated grill/broiler for about 15 minutes, until the flesh is cooked through and the skin has charred and started to crisp, turning occasionally. Once cooked, slice across each thigh into strips 2.5-cm/1-inch wide, season with salt and pepper. Pile the chicken shawarma up on flatbreads, garnish with coriander sprigs and place on your board, alongside any accompaniments you are serving.

Gyro flatbreads

Gyros are the ultimate grab-and-go Greek street food; soft, chewy flatbreads wrapped snugly around charred meat (like this chicken shawarma), salad and always topped with fries – the trickle of juice and tzatziki down your chin is optional. The wraps used for gyros tend to be thicker than regular pitas and are much more pliable and seriously delicious. This recipe couldn’t be easier or quicker – it’s all about the ratios: one part milk to two parts self-raising/rising flour, a little olive oil and a pinch of salt.

MAKES 16 SMALL FLATBREADS

270 g/2 cups self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
250 ml/1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
a pinch of salt

1. Mix all of the ingredients (except the flour for dusting) together in a bowl and work them together with your hands. Once the dough gets scraggy, tip it out onto a surface and start kneading by hand. Once you’ve got a soft, slightly sticky dough, pop it back in the bowl, cover loosely with a kitchen cloth and leave to rest for 30 minutes (or if time is short, just charge on and don’t bother resting it – it will still work out okay).

2. Cut the dough into 16 small pieces of equal size and roll each one out on a lightly floured surface until they are all about 5 mm/1/4 inch thick. Heat a heavy-based frying pan/skillet until hot, then slap a flatbread down in it for a few minutes before flipping it over. Repeat and cook each gyro until golden brown on both sides. Stack them up and cover with a clean kitchen cloth to keep them warm until you are ready to arrange them on your board.

Recipe from Share: Delicious Sharing Boards for Social Dining by Theo Michaels, published by Ryland Peters & Small, price £16.99.