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Meliz Berg's Ultimate Kebab 🌯

Meliz is back in the kitchen to make us her classic chicken doner kebab served with chips, salad and warm pitta! One of her most popular recipes, Meliz has made this countless times - and the key she says is in the yoghurt herb marinade which makes the juiciest chicken doner meat you’ll ever eat!

Chicken Doner Kebab

Makes 4-6 

Ingredients

1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets

1 large onion, sliced in half (skin still on)

4 large wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to cooking

For the marinade:

3 tbsp thick set natural yoghurt

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

2 tbsp Turkish sweet red pepper paste (tatli biber salçasi)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp clear honey

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp ground cumin

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp pul biber

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp onion granules

½/ tsp garlic granules

¾ tsp fine sea salt

¼ tsp coarse black pepper

For the chips:

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Cyprus or Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1½-cm (½-¾-inch) thick chips

1 litre (1¾ pints) vegetable or light olive oil, for frying

For the pickled red cabbage:

250 ml (g fl oz) red wine vinegar

3 tbsp caster sugar

150 ml (g fl oz) cold water

150 g (5½ oz) red cabbage, finely shredded

Method

1. For the marinade, mix all of the ingredients in a large, deep dish that will  eventually fit all of the chicken thigh fillets. Add the chicken to the marinade and give a thorough but gentle stir, fully coating the chicken fillets in the marinade. Cover the dish with plastic film and place the marinated chicken in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 4 hours, or even overnight. When the chicken has finished marinating, remove the dish from the fridge 45 minutes before you are ready to start cooking.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6.

3. Prepare the potatoes and keep them covered in cold water until the chicken goes into the oven.

4. Carefully thread each chicken thigh on to the four skewers and push them down as you do, while leaving enough space at the bottom so that you are able to lift up the döner with the skewers - all four skewers should go horizontally through each thigh so that they can support the weight of all of the chicken thighs together once they have all been threaded. Don't push the fillets together too tightly, as although they need to be close together to get the desired döner effect, the fillets must have room to ensure that they are cooked all the way through.

5. Lay both halves of the onion cut side down in a deep oven dish that is shorter in length than the skewers so that the skewers can sit on top of the edges of the dish (the döner is cooked horizontally, not vertically, but should not lay completely flat in the dish - the onion halves aid in keeping the döner propped up). Cook the chicken in the preheated oven for an initial 30-35 minutes.

6. Remove the dish from the oven, brush the chicken with the juices in the dish, then carefully turn the döner over so the other side is facing upwards, and brush with more of the juices. Return the chicken to the oven for a further 25-30 minutes.

7. To make the pickled red cabbage, mix together the vinegar and sugar in a bowl, add the water. Add the cabbage to a large bowl and once dissolved, add the water. Add the cabbage to a large jar or tupperware box, pour over the pickling liquid, then seal and pop in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before serving.

8. Meanwhile, prepare the chips. Drain the cut potatoes, pat then completely dry with kitchen papers and pour the oil into a medium deep non-stick pan.  Heat the oil over a medium /high heat. After 5-6 minutes, test the heat by carefully popping in one of the potatoes. If the oil starts to bubble rapidly when the potato hits it, then it is ready. If not, wait a few more minutes or use a food thermometer. 

9. Add the potatoes to the pan carefully with a slotted spoon and fry over a medium heat (around 140°C/285°7) for 20-15 minutes or until uniformly golden in colour, then increase the heal ever so slightly for the final 2-3 minutes so that they really crisp up.

10. While the chips are being fried, remove the chicken from the oven and baste, turn over and return to the oven for a final 5-10 minutes.

11. Remove from the oven one last time, baste the chicken again with the juices and allow to rest for 5 minutes before carving (vertically), so that the chicken pieces naturally break up into smaller bite-size pieces (instead of slices).

12. By now the chips should have turned a nice golden colour and be crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle. Carefully remove them with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

13. If there are any juices left in the chicken dish, brush them over the chicken just before serving.

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