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Iskender Chicken Kebab

by Le Bab from The Modern Kebab

This Chicken Kebab recipe from the team behind one of London's best restaurants, Le Bab, uses pickled kale to add an incredible depth of flavour.

From the book


A take on a classic Turkish kebab. We use kale as a hearty pickle, which brings a deep and slighly bitter quality to the dish, and contrasts well with the sweetness of the tomato sauce.

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800g chicken thighs, boned and skinned
For the chicken spice:
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground coriander
4 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh black pepper
½ tsp star anise
½ tsp ground tumeric
For the pickled kale:
500ml white wine vinegar
50g sugar
1 tsp salt
200g kale leaves, tough stems removed
1 fresh red chilli
For the tomato sauce:
1 kg vine tomatoes
olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1½ tbsp dried oregano
For the Le Bab mayonnaise:
1 whole egg
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp white wine vinegar
500ml vegetable oil
To serve:
4 Le Bab flatbreads
1 portion of Le Bab mayonnaise
Fresh parsley leaves

Essential kit

You will need: a food processor or electric whisk.


1. Make the chicken spice mix by combining all the spices and mixing in a bowl. Dice the chicken into large bite-sized chunks and rub with the spice mix before shaking off any excess and placing on a clean plate ready to cook. If you are cooking the chicken on a barbecue, you should skewer it onto four metal or wooden skewers. However, if you are cooking it in a pan or in the oven, there is no need.

2. Place the white wine vinegar, sugar and salt for the pickled kale in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour it over the kale leaves and chilli in a sterilised kilner jar. Once cool, it is ready to use (this will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge).

3. To make the Le Bab mayonnaise, in a food processor or with an electric whisk, beat together the egg, mustard and white wine vinegar until combined. Pour the vegetable oil into the egg mix as slowly as possible, continuing to whisk (or whilst leaving the food processor on, if you are using that). Make sure that the oil isn’t sitting on top of the egg, or not mixing in properly, as this will make the mayonnaise split. If your mayo is looking a little too thick, whisk in a little water. Keep going until all of the oil is incorporated into the egg then season. You can store this in the fridge and use within 3 days.

4. To make the tomato sauce, blend the raw tomatoes in a food processor until smooth and liquid. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the onion until golden brown before adding the spices and cooking for a couple of minutes to release their flavours. Add the blitzed tomatoes, turn down the heat and gently simmer the sauce for around an hour until it is thick and all the excess water has evaporated. Season.

5. Season the chicken with salt and cook over a barbecue, turning frequently every 30 seconds, until cooked through. Alternatively, cook in a frying pan or chargrill pan over a medium heat. It should take about 5 minutes.

6. When the chicken is ready, spread a spoonful of the tomato sauce onto a flatbread (see the recipe here) and top with the chicken. Drizzle with mayonnaise and top with the pickled kale leaves and some parsley leaves too.

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From the book: The Modern Kebab

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