Shawarma Chicken with Warm Chickpea Purée and Sumac Onions

We seem to be eating rather a lot of chicken lately!

This dish is from A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry. I finally bought my own copy having borrowed my Mother-in-Laws one last year.

In some respects it isn’t dissimilar to the Jamie Oliver dish I made from 15 minute meals. It just has a little more care and attention. They both end up pan frying chicken at a high heat very quickly.

I mostly ignore the treatment that chicken requires when cooking. If it says boneless chicken thighs I tend to just leave the skin on and leave the bone in – speed over appearance – but for a change I decided to out my Global knives to good use and bone and skin the chicken. It’s pretty easy with the right tools so I will put in the effort from now on.

The prepped chicken is marinated in garlic, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric and mixed spice for several hours.  The purée is made from cooked onion, garlic, cumin and mixed spice- to which you add your chickpeas and blend until smooth with some tahini, lemon juice and olive oil.

For once I found my Nutribullet to be a little irritating when pureeing. It isn’t very good at blitzing a lot of something – especially when it is thick. It is also incredibly difficult to get out of the container when you are done. I think a stick blender would have been better; I may even take a punt on something a bit more upmarket like a Vitamix or a Thermomix.

The sumac onions are simply some crisped up  red onions with sumac sprinkled on top. I crisped mine up on a bed of ice – but it suggests just using cold water.

When you’re ready to easy get your pan really hot and pan fry the chicken – a couple of minutes on each side – and serve with the chickpea puree and the onions.

This dish is very nice. The warm chickpea purée isn’t far off being a hummus and goes really well with the spices that marinade the chicken.

I served mine with pitta bread but I think it was largely unnecessary. We ate quite late and it was a struggle to finish it.  I also added a mint, radish and lettuce salad and a blob of yoghurt just to use up some salad I had in the fridge.

It’s film club tonight – and we are watching Ex-Machina. I made extra so we have an enviable snack for later.

I’ll certainly made this again – especially for the puree. It’s amazing.



When it’s 9pm and you haven’t eaten yet you have a choice. Don’t eat, or knock up a fattoosh. I made this in less than 15 minutes!

I’ve made a number of fattooshes (fattooshi? not sure what the plural is). Ottolenghi’s fattoosh has a buttermilk dressing and is diced smaller. This one is very chunky – those cucumbers and tomatoes in the picture are 1.5cm dice.

Fattoosh belong to a family of dishes known as fattat – which tends to use stale flat bread as a base – which usually has sumac over it to give the dish a sour taste and it will usually have parsley in it.

Fatt means crush! oosh is just a suffix – so fattoosh I guess means crushed.

This dish – like a number of dishes in Veggiestan – has a lot of fresh herbs. This has a handful of parsley, coriander and mint (well it’s supposed to – I always put more – much better than throwing it away).

This is incredibly zingy, crunchy, fresh and tasty. The olive oil, garlic and lemon juice dressing really gives it a kick.

Also in the dish are peppers, black olives and spring onions.

And I really love the toasted bread in olive oil, dusted in sumac. Sumac is amazing – it always brings toasted bread to life.

The recipe calls for pitta – but I didn’t have any so I just diced a french stick and did it with that.

The other good thing about a fattoosh salad (we just decided the plural of fattoosh is ‘fattoosh salads’) is that – even at 9:30pm – you can stuff your face with this endlessly and never feel full up.