Chefs' Recipes

Paul Farag’s shawarma-spiced chicken with toum

Though you need to start this recipe a day ahead, it truly is minimal effort. Brined overnight, the chicken is moist and tender, elevated by the shawarma spice rub. This dish is a true show stopper.

Photo: Ben Dearnley

Ben Dearnley
4 - 6
1H 20M

“Shawarma spice is used on grilled meats throughout the Middle East,” explains Farag. “It’s something we make our own blend of. Here, we’ve shared a version of ours that uses cardamom and turmeric.” Begin this recipe a day ahead.


Shawarma spice


1.Place 2 litres water, 50gm fine salt and citric acid In a large non-reactive container with a lid, and whisk until combined. Add chicken and submerge. If there is not enough liquid to cover the chicken, add a little more water. Cover with lid and brine in the fridge overnight.
2.Meanwhile, for shawarma spice, place ingredients in a frying pan and heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and toasted (1-2 minutes); cool. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and finely grind.
3.Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Place chicken, skin-side up in a roasting pan fitted with a wire rack; drizzle with oil and scatter with 1 tbsp shawarma spice (or as desired) and season to taste. Stand until chicken comes to room temperature (30 minutes).
4.Preheat oven to 220˚C fan-forced. Roast chicken for 20 minutes then reduce to 180˚C and roast until golden and just cooked (30 minutes); rest for 15 minutes before serving.
5.For toum, place egg whites in a blender and blend on high until white and frothy (8 minutes). Add lemon juice, garlic and 10gm sea salt flakes, and blend for a further 2 minutes. Gradually add oil until thick and emulsified (3 minutes); season to taste and transfer to a serving bowl.
6.Place chicken on a large platter, scatter with extra shawarma spice and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with toum on the side.

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