Lemony chicken kebabs with tahini sauce and a dusting of smoky paprika

These chicken kebabs are very quick and easy on a ribbed griddle (don’t try and make it for more than four), but this would also be successful on a barbeque for a veritable mob.

The thing that takes the time is collecting the ingredients, but if you keep your spices together it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.

Serve this with some warm naan, or pitta, or focaccia. Or you could even make some homemade sumac flatbread – honestly takes seconds.

These kebabs also go particularly well with a savoy cabbage and raspberry vinegar coleslaw; or indeed just a plain green salad.

Alternatively, you could achieve your five a day by incorporating some pieces of red, yellow or green pepper into the kebabs.


NB – needs, ideally, marinating


Recipe for lemony chicken kebabs with tahini sauce and a dusting of smoky paprika

Serves four


  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ Indonesian long pepper tsp sumac
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with 2 tsp smoked salt
  • 420 ml/1¾ cups Greek yoghurt
  • 8 chicken thighs, bone out, skin on
  • 2 onions
  • 3 lemons
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • generous shakings of Spanish sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp either dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds (optional – they do make it look more interesting, and they add a little sweetness and acidity which goes well with the rich, creamy sauce)
  • olive oil
  • 4 tbsps tahini
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 2 peppers – optional – seeded and cut into pieces.

You’ll also need either four or eight bamboo skewers, depending on the width of your griddle


  1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water.
  2. Crush the cardamom pods, remove the seeds and put them in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Add the two other seeds, and crush.
  4. Add the ground spices and the sumac. Grind over some Indonesian long pepper.
  5. Peel and crush the garlic with the salt if you haven’t already. Add about half of it to the spices.
  6. Add a tbsp of olive oil, and two tbsps. of the yoghurt and mix well in the pestle and mortar.
  7. Cut the chicken thighs in half and lay snuggly in a small, shallow bowl. Pour over the spice mix, cover the chicken thighs with the mixture all over. Put in the fridge to marinate ideally overnight….well, I have to admit that I have omitted to do this quite a few times and it is still excellent.
  8. Now make the sauce. Into a smallish, pretty bowl, or wide-necked jug, put the rest of the garlic, the rest of the yoghurt, and the tahini.
  9. Zest two of the lemons, and squeeze in the juice of one. stir well.
  10. Drizzle over some finishing olive oil, and sprinkle over either the cranberries, or the pomegranate seeds if you’re using them.
  11. Peel the onions and cut into quarters, pulling the ‘leaves’ apart.
  12. Cut the remaining lemon into eight wedges.
  13. If you are able to fit everything onto one skewer per person, then feed the various things (lemon wedges, bay leaves, onion leaves, chicken thighs, and pieces of pepper if you’re using) on, the most important thing being that each piece of chicken should be surrounded on both sides by one of the larger leaves of onion. This (together with the skin) keeps in the juices and keeps the chicken wonderfully moist.
  14. Oil the griddle, and get it good and hot, and smoking. Lay the skewers onto it, drizzle over some more olive oil. Fry for about fifteen minutes, turning every few minutes, until the chicken is golden on all sides and cooked through. A minute or two into the process, squeeze the juice of the remaining, zested lemon over the chicken and sprinkle over the fresh thyme, drizzle a bit more olive oil over too.
  15. When the chicken is cooked through, dust with the paprika and serve with the tahini sauce and the warm bread.



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