We’re taking inspiration from the one and only Ottolenghi this weekend with his homemade pita with chicken skewers or herb fritters. Yum.
INGREDIENTS | Makes 6 Large Pitas, Prep 5 Min, Prove 1-2 Hours, Cook 40 mins
240ml lukewarm water
2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling
Put the water in a small bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and sugar, and leave for five to six minutes, until it reacts and turns foamy.
Put both flours and the salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached and mix on low speed to combine. Add the yeast mixture and oil, turn the speed to medium-high and knead for seven minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic and a bit sticky. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for one to two hours, until doubled in size. (Or prove overnight in the fridge.)
Divide the dough into six pieces weighing roughly 100g each. Lightly flour a clean work surface with flour and mould each piece into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for another 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to its highest setting and put in a large tray to heat up. Cut out a couple pieces of baking paper roughly the same size as the tray and sprinkle with flour. Working two at a time, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the balls into roughly 12cm-diameter rounds on the paper. Transfer the paper and bread rounds to the heated tray and bake for four to five minutes, until lightly golden and puffy. Transfer to a clean plate or bowl and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you repeat with the rest of the dough.
SEVEN-SPICE CHICKEN WITH TAHINI
INGREDIENTS | Serves 4-6, Marinate 30 min +, Cook 50 min
For the chicken
700g boneless and skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 3-4 pieces
1 tbsp Lebanese seven-spice
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp olive oil
70g Greek-style yoghurt
1 lemon – half juiced, to get 1 tbsp, the other half reserved to finish
Salt and black pepper
For the sauce
80g good-quality tahini
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1½ tbsp lemon juice
Put all the chicken ingredients (except the reserved lemon half) in a large bowl with a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper, and mix to combine. Cover with a plate and marinate for at least half an hour (or refrigerate overnight, if you want to get ahead).
Make the sauce by whisking all the ingredients with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and 70ml water, until you have a smooth, pourable sauce. It will thicken as it sits.
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/ 425F/gas 7 and put a well-greased griddle pan on a high flame. Skewer the marinated chicken on to four roughly 23cm-long metal skewers (or soaked wooden skewers). Once the griddle is very hot, grill the chicken two skewers at a time (or as many as will fit comfortably) for eight to 10 minutes in total, turning regularly, until well-charred all over.
Transfer the skewers to an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Squeeze over the reserved lemon half and serve warm with pittas, salad, pickles and the sauce.
TABBOULEH FRITTERS WITH QUICK CHILLI SAUCE
INGREDIENTS | Serves 4, Prep 23 min, Cook 45 min
70g bulgur wheat
Salt and black pepper
200g baby spinach
50g parsley, roughly chopped
20g mint leaves, picked
½ red onion, peeled and roughly chopped (60g net weight)
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon zest
75ml olive oil
3 large eggs
For the quick chilli sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
½ onion, peeled and roughly chopped (75g)
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 fresh red chillies, roughly chopped, seeds and all (20g)
2 vine tomatoes, roughly chopped, seeds and all (200g)
1½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
Put the bulgur in a small saucepan for which you have a tight-fitting lid, and add 75ml water and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and leave to sit and steam gently for 10 minutes. Fluff up the bulgur with a fork, then set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Put the oil in a small frying pan on a medium-high heat and, once hot, add the garlic and onion. Fry, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until softened and lightly coloured. Add the tomato paste, cook, stirring often, for a minute longer, then add the chillies, turn off the heat and leave to cool for five minutes. Tip the mix into a food processor, pulse until finely chopped, then add the tomatoes, vinegar and half a teaspoon of salt, and blitz smooth.
Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 20 seconds, or until just wilted, then drain. Refresh in cold water, then drain again and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. You’ll end up with about 90g.
Put the cooled bulgur, spinach, herbs, onion, garlic, spices, lemon zest, a tablespoon of oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper in a food processor, and pulse a couple of times, until finely chopped. Add the eggs and pulse a few times more, until combined. Transfer the batter to a bowl or jug (it will be pourable).
Put the remaining four tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high heat and, once hot, drop (or pour) three to four large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and gently shape them into patties roughly 8cm in diameter x 2cm thick. Fry for two to three minutes on each side, until crisp and cooked through, then transfer to a tray lined with absorbent paper while you cook the rest of the batter.
Serve the fritters warm with the quick chilli sauce and pitta.