A serving platter with BBQ tandoori chicken shawarma

Chicken shawarma

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(13 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins plus at least 4 hrs marinating

More effort

Serves 6

Add oomph to chicken kebabs with yogurt, Indian spices and chillies. This smoky, flavour-packed tandoori shawarma can be cooked on the barbecue or in the oven

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal299
  • fat19g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs3g
  • sugars2g
  • fibre0g
  • protein29g
  • salt1.9g
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  • 2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges to serve



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 150g pot natural yogurt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, roughly chopped



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1-2 green chillies (depending on how hot you like it)
  • small pack of fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric



    Turmeric is a fragrant, bright golden-yellow root that is most commonly seen and used dried and…

  • 1 tsp ground cumin



    An aromatic spice native to eastern Mediteranean countries and Upper Egypt. This warm,…

  • 1 tsp garam masala
    Garam masala

    Garam masala

    gar-am mah-sarl-ah

    Meaning 'warming spice mix', garam masala is the main spice blend used in North Indian…

  • 16 skinless, boneless chicken thighs



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 1 large baking potato, cut in half lengthways
  • 6 shop-bought naan bread


  1. Tip all the ingredients, except the chicken and lemon wedges, into a blender or a smoothie bullet with 1 tsp sea salt and whizz to a smooth paste. Pile the chicken into a bowl or large plastic container, pour over the paste and mix through so the chicken is completely coated. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hrs or up to 48 hrs – the longer, the better.

  2. Cooking on the barbecue:

    Light a lidded barbecue, and let the flames die down. Once the coals have turned ashen, pile them up on one side with a few coals scattered around the other. Starting and ending with half a baking potato, thread all the chicken onto two long metal skewers – so that both skewers go through each piece of meat – packing the thighs down between the potato halves so that they are really compact. Place the large chicken kebab to the side of the barbecue with only a few coals underneath. Pop the lid down and cook for 45-50 mins, turning every 15 mins, or until cooked through – prise the chicken pieces apart in the centre to check, or use a digital cooking thermometer; it should read 70C or more. Leave to rest for 5 mins.

  3. Cooking in the oven:

    Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 8. Sit the kebab across a roasting tin so it is suspended, or rest a wire rack over a roasting tin and place the chicken on top. Cook for 45-55 mins or until cooked through. 

  4. Warm the naan on the barbecue or in the oven. Bring the kebab to the table to carve, wrap with warm naans, and serve with the other salads and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

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Comments, questions and tips

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3rd Jun, 2019
Using the same method as this I cooked the Korean Chilli, sesame & honey Chicken using 24 chicken thighs. I made two skewers of 12 thighs and used a gas BBQ. Initial cooking for 8 mins then over indirect heat for 45 mins - Perfect. Using the potato halves at either end stabilize the skewers and keep the meat in place - they are not for consumption!
11th Jan, 2019
I agree with Lord Grim! Did this in the oven and where the chicken is so compacted this is not a 55 minute recipe! I had to cut into the centre of the kebab all the way top to bottom and it still took 2 hours to cook fully. I would recommend planning for 2 hours and using a meat thermometer if you don’t want to ruin the look of it. Very good though really delicious and impressive to serve at a party
Lord Grim
28th May, 2018
Did I do it wrong? 3 hours and counting this bad boy has been on the barbecue. It smells great, that’s all I can tell you folks. BTW, I barbecue low and slow a lot. Should’ve known better than to believe 1.6kg of compacted chicken would cook in 45 mins.
Lord Grim
28th May, 2018
For the record, after 3 1/2 hours, it was delicious. Had it with flatbreads, vinegar slaw, mayo and lemon juice. Would cook again, with adjustments for time.
Lord Grim
28th May, 2018
For the record, after 3 1/2 hours, it was delicious. Had it with flatbreads, vinegar slaw, mayo and lemon juice.
18th Jun, 2017
Served in Pittas with lots of salads . Fabulous family BBQ
poshpause's picture
18th Jun, 2017
For gawd's sake don't do as the recipe says, and "Tip all the ingredients, except the chicken and lemon wedges, into a blender or a smoothie bullet". Blended baking potato and naan bread would be yuk. Lazy recipe writing, I call that!
Tanay_Sharma's picture
16th Jun, 2017
Well i am not sure about other countries but this recipe is inspired by Indian cuisine? Cause the ingredients which you have mentioned here is similar to the Indian recipe, maybe the cooking style is different from the Indian style but i am sure this will definitely taste just like i feel in Indian restaurant. I would also try that for someday.
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