Sabrina Ghayour's ultimate chicken shawarmas.

These fragrant, heartily spiced flatbreads from the Persian food writer have the crunch of salad and the soft bite of well-cooked chicken. One won't be enough.


(Serves 2-8)

600g boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets

1tsp ground turmeric

1tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp ground coriander

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp cayenne pepper

4 fat garlic cloves, crushed

Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4tbsp Greek yogurt

Olive oil

Maldon sea salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

6-8 round flatbreads of your choosing (or use pittas)

200g Greek yogurt

4 large tomatoes, sliced, then each slice cut in half

1 large red onion, halved and finely sliced into half-moons

1 small bunch (about 30g) of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Gherkins or cucumbers in brine (as many as you like), finely sliced


1. Place the chicken thigh fillets in a bowl. Add the spices, garlic, lemon zest and juice, yogurt, a good drizzle of olive oil (about two tablespoons) and a generous amount of salt and black pepper. Using your hands, work the marinade into the chicken, ensuring it is mixed evenly and coats every exposed part of the fillets. Cover the bowl with cling film and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Drizzle a little olive oil into a large frying pan set over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken - reduce the heat if the thighs begin to cook too quickly. Fry gently for 10-12 minutes on each side, or until the thighs have a nice, deep, golden brown crust and are cooked through. When done, remove and cut the thighs widthways very thinly.

3. To serve, lay a flatbread on your work surface. Spread Greek yogurt across the surface. Place a line of tomato half-moons down the middle. Stack some shredded chicken over this, then follow with the onion, coriander and a few slices of pickled cucumbers.

4. Fold up the bottom of the flatbread, then fold over the sides to enclose the filling as tightly as possible. Repeat with the remaining flatbreads and filling. To make eating the shawarmas a little easier, wrap the base with some doubled-up baking paper or a square of kitchen foil, to hold the juices in.

Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour is published by Mitchell Beazley (, priced £20. Photography Kirk Kirkham.