Try Gurdeep Loyal's chicken shawarma, then check out his recipes for pinto bean and salsa macha dip and asparagus and ricotta salata tartlets.

Advieh is a versatile, aromatic Iranian spice mixture that can be used in anything from rice dishes and fragrant stews to pickle brines and BBQ marinades. Spices included are typically cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and rose petals, although special blends add dried lime, Persian angelica and sumac. These are roasted to release their aromas, then ground to a powder. It’s a combination loved by chefs at restaurants including Berenjak in London and Persepolis in New York. Ready-made blends are available in Middle Eastern supermarkets such as Green Valley, or online from or, which I used for the recipe.

Chicken shawarma recipe


  • 3 tbsp advieh, plus a pinch to serve
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 200g greek yogurt, plus 2 tbsp
  • 750g chicken thigh fillets, skinless
  • 10g mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, plus 1 tsp of zest
  • flatbreads, pickled vegetables and Turkish chillies, to serve


  • STEP 1

    If your advieh contains whole dried rose petals and spices, first grind to a fine powder. Put it in a large bowl with the paprika, oil and vinegar. Mix well into a paste.

  • STEP 2

    Mix in the sugar, two-thirds of the garlic, 2 tbsp of yogurt and 2½ tsp of fine sea salt. Add the chicken thighs and smother with the marinade. Cover and leave in the fridge for 4 hrs or overnight.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 205C/185C fan/gas 6 and remove the chicken from the fridge to bring to room temperature. Using two skewers, pierce the chicken through each side of the thighs – packing down to form a large kebab. Put onto a wire-racked baking sheet and cook for 50-55 mins or until the chicken is cooked through. Finish under a hot grill or on top of a barbecue for 1-2 mins if you want a charred finish.

  • STEP 4

    For the sauce, mix together the remaining yogurt and garlic, mint, lemon juice and zest, and ½ tsp of salt. Toast the flatbreads, smother with the yogurt sauce and shawarma. Serve with pickles and chillies, and finish with a sprinkle of advieh.

Alternative chicken thigh recipes


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