These juicy shawarmas are worth the effort of cooking them.
Timing: 1 hour 15 minutes
For the marinade:
- 2 tbsp of cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp of coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp of black pepper
- 1 tsp of turmeric powder
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 2-5 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsps of olive oil
- ½ tsp salt (only use for chicken marinade, not for mushroom)
- 12 boneless and skinless free range chicken thighs
- 8 portobello mushrooms, stalks removed
- 1 small pineapple, cut into 4 thick slices (the top and bottom will make up two of your slices)
For the sauce:
- 3 red chillies
- 1 onion
- 3 vine tomatoes
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
Pitta breads, warmed
Start by lighting the BBQ with a direct and indirect side. The coals (on the direct side only) are ready when they are gray and covered with ash.
For the sauce:
- Start with the veggies for your sauce. Carefully place the whole onion directly onto the hot coals to cook through. Place the tomatoes onto the indirect side of the grill and place the red chillies on the direct side to cook away.
- Close the lid of the BBQ grill and let the ingredients cook for about 10-15 minutes. Check on them occasionally and turn to ensure they are cooking evenly.
For the marinade:
- Using a pestle and mortar, grind the coriander seeds and cumin together. Add the black pepper and grind again, but ensure it's still coarse. Add the zest of two lemons and the whole garlic cloves to the spice mix and grind it all together. Once it is all mixed through, add turmeric, smoked paprika, olive oil and the juice of two lemons and mix.
- Divide your marinade into two bowls, one for the chicken and one for the mushrooms.
- After 15 minutes, remove the veggies from the BBQ and place them in a large bowl covered with cling film to allow them to steam. This will make the skin easier to remove.
- Season the chicken thighs generously with coarse sea salt and mix with the marinade, ensuring that it completely covers the chicken by mixing it together.
- To prepare the mushrooms, wash them and pat dry and spoon the marinade on, stalk side facing up to ensure the marinade stays in. No need to add salt to the mushrooms as it draws out the moisture.
- Grab three metal skewers, pierce the skewers through the base of one of the pineapple slices so the skewers make a 3 pronged stand, then stack all the chicken thighs onto the skewers. Place the leafy top slice of the pineapple on top to seal the stack.
- Place the chicken on the line between the direct and indirect side of the grill with one side facing the heat of the coals. Using tongs, rotate the chicken every five minutes for about 50 minutes or until cooked through. The outside should be crispy and the middle tender and juicy. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached 75 degrees.
- Follow the same skewering process for the mushrooms. Pierce three skewers through the base of one of the pineapple slices and stack the mushrooms on top, seal the stack with the last pineapple slice. Place your mushroom stack on the direct side of the grill for about 35 minutes, turning frequently.
While they are cooking, finish your sauce:
- Once cooled, take the skins off the tomatoes, scrape the chilli seeds and flesh into the bowl (discarding the charred skin) and remove the outer skin of the onion before placing into a blender along with the red wine vinegar, a good glug of olive oil and some seasoning. Blend until smooth then set aside.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove from the heat and leave to rest for five minutes. Remove the chicken and mushroom from the pineapple and dice into small chunks. Slice the chicken and/or mushroom into thin slices then serve on warmed pita breads with the chopped pineapple and chilli sauce.