Something new to shout about. We’ve been dabbling with chicken thighs again and this one’s a real treat. It’s Saturday night and you really fancy a kebab…but you also crave curry. Dilemma strikes, but of course, Jamie has the answer and comes to the rescue with another of his little gems in the form of the ‘Shawarma Kebab’. It also includes one of my favourite things in the world – peanut butter! Which is bizarrely one of my ‘allowed’ foods according to the blood type diet (which I clearly don’t follow, although probably should) but that’s another story. 

You’re gonna need some big old skewers to put these bad boys together (we used the barbecue untensils – first outing of the year!) and some patience, as the threading of those big chunks of marinated chicken, onion, red pepper and lemon require some careful attention. But it’s all worth it as the end result is glorious. The full ingredients list and method can be found in Jamie’s wonderful ‘Comfort Food’. 

To make our version of this dish (serves two to three to generously) you will need:

– Ten cardamom pods

– One heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds

– One heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds

– One heaped teaspoon of coriander seeds

– One level teaspoon of ground cinnamon

– One level teaspoon of ground allspice

– One level teaspoon of ground cloves

– One level teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika

– Four cloves of garlic (peeled)

– Two fresh bay leaves

– Four tablespoons of natural yoghurt

– One heaped tablespoon of smooth peanut butter

– Olive oil

– Eight boneless chicken thighs (skin on)

– One large red pepper

– One onion (peeled)

– One lemon 

– One large tomato 

Method:

– Firstly crush and pod the cardamoms, then toast all of the spices in a dry pan for a couple of minutes. Season well and place into a blender. Add the garlic and bay leaves (de-stalked). Add the yoghurt, peanut butter and a decent lug of olive oil. Blitz to a smooth paste. Loosen with a little water if needed. 

– Place the chicken in a large bowl and massage the paste into the meat. Tip into a large freezer bag or leave in the bowl and cover. Refrigerate overnight if possible. 

– Cut the pepper into quarters, taking out the seeds. Next peel and quarter the onion, then quarter the lemon and tomato. Take two large skewers and begin threading across both, staring with the lemon, then a piece of tomato followed by all the meat (placing the pepper and onion chunks inbetween each thigh). Finish with tomato and then lemon at the end. We did this across two sets of two skewers. 

– Drizzle the kebabs with olive oil and heat up your griddle pan. You will need to allow around one hour cooking time whether you’re doing it indoors or outdoors on the BBQ. As we were cooking indoors, we coloured the kebabs on a very hot griddle pan for fifteen minutes – turning occasionally until all sides are evenly browned. We then placed in the oven (gas 6/200C) on a tray for forty five minutes. 

Jamie serves his wrapped up in a homemade flatbread but we opted for warmed chapatis, Tarka Dal and a Kachumber salad (both from Rick Stein’s ‘India’). I can’t emphasise enough how tasty these kebabs are…you get all of the spice and flavour from an Indian meal without the heaviness. The yoghurt acts to tenderise the meat, plus the lemon adds a wonderful freshness. I happily devoured mine and was left feeling satisfied and comforted. What can I say, Jamie does it once again. 

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