Remember at the end of that Avengers movie, when they all went to eat a bunch of shawarmas? Well, I think they missed out on the real superhero at the shawarma shop… the tahini sauce! This baby is not only good on chicken, but on red meat, fish, on salads, and even as a dip for crudités. It’s free of dairy and nuts, and comes together in seconds in a blender. Which is why this the sauce of my summer!
2 teaspoons cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
3 green cardamom pods (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom; optional)
1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons, make sure to zest them first!)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 teaspoons extra
Handful of soft herbs (eg. parsley, cilantro, mint)
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup tahini
3/4 cup hot water (plus up to 1/2 cup extra)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic
Handful of chopped soft herbs
Glug of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon everything seasoning (optional)
- If using whole cumin seeds and cardamom pods, grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder. Tap out.
- Add all marinade ingredients to a blender except for lemon zest, red onion and chicken. Blend until smooth. Prick each chicken thigh a couple of times with a fork, then toss into a plastic storage bag. Pour marinade over chicken, seal and massage marinade into chicken. Let chicken marinate at room temp for 30 minutes, or up to overnight in the fridge.
- Make tahini sauce: Wash out blender. Whazz all the sauce ingredients until smooth. If it seizes, add more hot water until sauce resembles heavy cream. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt, lemon juice and herbs based on your palate. Pour into a bowl, stir in lemon zest, and finish with an extra shake of everything season.
- Turn on the broiler in your oven. Add onion wedges to chicken, reseal and massage again so onions are covered in the marinade. Drizzle a foil-lined baking sheet with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil. Turn chicken and onions out onto the sheet, ensuring they’re spread out evenly and onions are broken up. Pop into your oven, as close to your broiler as possible, and cook 25-30 minutes until chicken is tender and charred in places.
- To serve: Place 2 pita breads on the bottom of the platter. Slice each chicken thigh thinly, and arrange over the breads. Sprinkle onions around the chicken, then pour any remaining sauce on the baking sheet over the chicken. Drizzle spoonfuls of tahini sauce over the chicken and serve!