Chicken shawarma pie (receipe)

This is one from the beautiful book of Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley. I have changed the proportions and added quite some lemon and the lemon zest, which “breaks” the heavy tahini sauce quite nicely.

I served the pie with a green salad, which is a perfect complement.


Chicken shawarma pie

Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword chicken
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 8 servings


  • 450 g chicken breasts skinless
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 tea spoons cumin
  • 2 tea spoons ground coriander
  • 3/4 tea spoon paprika up to you if you would like to add some spicy or a milder paprika
  • 1/2 tea spoon ground tumeric
  • 3/4 tea spoon ground cinnamon
  • 90 ml olive oil
  • 2 table spoons vinigar I used white balsamico. The idea is to use a sharp vinigar rather than a sweet one to "break" the intensity of the herbs.
  • 400 g potatoes preferably ones that bake well, washed, unpeeled and in 0.5 cm slices
  • 45 g butter if you use salted butter, remember to put less salt into the dish
  • 1 large onion cut into thin slices
  • 200 ml stock chicken or vegetable stock
  • 15 g parsley finely chopped
  • 8 sheets filo dough
  • 2 table spoons nigella seeds sesame seeds work as well
  • chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 50 g tahini
  • 80 g Greek yoghurt or any natural yoghurt
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 lemon juice and zest


  • Mix the crushed garlic, ground spices, a table spoon of olive oil, the vinegar and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Once the marinade is done, pour it over the chicken and let it marinate if possible over night in the fridge.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix the potato slices with 1 table spoon of olive oil as well as some salt and pepper. Spread them evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let them bake for 10 mins.
  • Turn the heat up to 220 degrees and continue to bake the potatoes until they are golden. Set them aside.
  • Put 15g of butter and 1 table spoon of olive oil into a large pan and place on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onion slices and cook until they are nice and soft and a bit brown. Be careful not to burn them. Add the chicked and the marinade and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the stock as well as some salt and pepper and let it gently simmer for about 20 minutes and until the liquid is reduced to about 4 table spoons. Shred the chicken, add the chopped parsley and let it cool.
  • For the tahini sauce add the following ingredients in a small bowl and mix them together until you have a smooth sauce: tahini, yoghurt, 2 crushed garlic cloves as well as the juice and zest of the lemon. You might need to add some water - the sauce should be runny, but not watery.
  • Melt the remaining butter and add 2 table spoons of olive oil. Grease the bottom and sides of the cake tin and immediately place a sheet of filo dough on the bottom. Grease this sheet and add a second filo sheet immediately. Repeat this until you have 6 filo sheets in total. Depending on the size of the sheets and your cake tin, you might want to turn the tin when placing the different layers to ensure that you have an even base.
  • To assemble, add the potato slices on top of the last filo sheet. Can you have them overlapping a bit, but you should not have 2 layers. Next add the chicken mixture and then add the tahini sauce on top. To "close off" the pie, add another 2 filo sheets - again brushing them with the remaining butter/oil mixture. Sprinkel the nigella seeds and let it bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is nice and golden. If the top goes brown too quickly, reduce the heat somewhat.
  • Let it cool off for about 15 minutes and add the chilli flakes before transfering the pie onto a large plate to serve.

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