Chicken Shawarma (or late night kebab)

I enjoy being drunk. And one of the most enjoyable bits of being drunk, I am sure you’ll agree, is that moment when you throw all dietary caution to the wind, and eat a big kebab. The following morning, however, as gastrointestinal discomfort kicks in, and a faint, stale taste of cigarettes and fading garlic sauce resounds around your mouth, you feel regret, and guilt, for money thrown away on food you only dimly remember through an alcoholic fugue.

Well, what if there were a way around this? What if you could have your elephant leg and eat it? What if you ate a good version, and then got properly drank? I’m here to tell you that you can! And it tastes as good as it does after a number of pints, without ever having to imbibe those pints! NB, you may still imbibe those pints with my blessing.

The trick, unless you fancy building an actual vertical grill, and compressing a huge amount of meat and herbs onto a rotating pole* is to oil it twice as you cook it, creating an effect not dissimilar to the meat stewing in it’s own juices, as it would in your friendly local kebab shop. The result is moist, rich, gently spiced chicken, which will taste delicious in a pitta or naan bread. Salad and polystyrene box optional.


  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 3 Chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or 30ml garlic oil)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil


First up, you want to marinade the meat as much as possible to start. Dice up the meat into small pieces, about 10 per breast, and 6 or 7 per thigh, and put in a bowl. Mix about 70ml of oil with the hefty collection of spices (trust me, they add up to perfect kebab!) and rub this all over the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl, and leave to marinate for anything from 15 minutes to a day, whatever suits your schedule. There are benefits to a long marinade, but less than you think- the spices and oils can only permeate up to about 1/6 inch (2/3cm) in!

When you’re ready to go, put a little oil in a large pan, and gently fry the chicken until it’s well sealed, and turning a rich yellow brown colour, then remove from the heat, allow to cool a little and put on a chopping board.

Dice it up until you have a whole lot of little pieces of meat. If you’re reading this, I assume that you have eaten shawarma/chicken kebab before, and know what it looks like. If not, there’s pictures of the end result in here. It should be uneven, and really small pieces.


Add a little more oil to the pan, though don’t go overboard, and cook over a medium heat for a little longer, until the smallest pieces have gone crispy.

Serve with a pitta, chips, and if you fancy being fancy and not just having ketchup, tzatziki is the best with this!


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