Arabic Flatbreads with Spiced Chicken and Salsa
For the chicken
- 50ml olive oil
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp Aleppo pepper, or ¾ tsp ground cayenne
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 8 good-sized chicken thigh fillets, skin removed
- Greek yogurt date syrup for drizzling (optional)
- Sesame seeds
For the khobz
- 2 tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 750g strong white flour, sifted
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the salsa
- 125g tomatoes
- Good-sized bunch coriander
- 8 spring onions, chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Mix the olive oil with the spices and garlic. Coat the chicken and leave in a dish in the fridge for anything from 30 minutes to four hours.
For the bread, mix the yeast with the sugar and 100ml warm water. Leave in a warm place to froth for about 15 minutes.
Put the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the frothed yeast into the middle and start incorporating the dry ingredients. Add the oil and, gradually, as much warm water as you need to bring everything together into a ball. The dough should be quite soft and tacky. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
Rinse the bowl out, lightly oil it and put the dough back in. Loosely cover the dough with clingfilm and put it in a warm place to double in size – about 90 minutes’ rising time.
Put non-stick baking sheets, a pizza stone or unglazed quarry tiles into the oven and preheat to 230-240C/gas mark 8-9, well in advance.
For the salsa, halve and deseed the tomatoes then dice the flesh. Finely chop the leaves of the coriander (use the stalks for something else) and mix with the rest of the salsa ingredients.
Divide the dough into eight balls and, on a floured surface, flatten into circles about 20cm across. Set these aside to rise again for about half an hour.
Slide the pieces of dough on to the hot baking sheets and sprinkle with water. Cook two or four rounds at a time for about six minutes – it will take a little longer if your oven doesn’t get to 240C. The breads should balloon and remain soft and pliable. As they become ready wrap them in a warm cloth.
Meanwhile, heat a ridged griddle pan until very hot. Shake the chicken from the marinade and cook the thighs on a high heat to get good scorch marks – two minutes on both sides. Turn the heat down and cook for another four minutes a side or until cooked through. Slice.
Open the khobz across the top and stuff with the chicken, a dollop of yogurt and some of the salsa. Drizzle on a little date syrup (if using) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.