Make Berber & Q's buttermilk chicken shish kebab

Fatty thigh meat lends itself perfectly to this flamed buttermilk chicken shish. Pair your charred veg and spiced chicken with a warm, floury flatbread for the ultimate Middle Eastern-inspired main

Berber & Q's buttermilk chicken shish kebab

Serves 4

Preparation time 6 hours

Cooking time 15 mins


Buttermilk chicken shish

  • 100ml buttermilk
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic oil or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp hot red pepper paste (biber salcasi)
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 8 chicken thighs, deboned, skinned and quartered
  • 2 green pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • Red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 thin metal skewers, approximately 40–45cm long

To serve

  • Pitas or flatbread
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or garlic oil, plus extra to brush
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced spring onion
  • 1 tbsp picked oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp quick-preserved Lemon
  • Toum (garlic sauce)
  • Plus more exclusive toppings from Berber & Q's cookbook


  1. Prep the chicken: put the buttermilk, spices, garlic, garlic oil, hot red pepper paste, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and onion in a bowl and stir together to combine.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and massage the mixture into the chicken to ensure it's evenly distributed and well coated. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for 4–6 hours or preferably overnight.
  3. Once marinated, skewer the chicken pieces intermittently with the red and green pepper and the red onion.
  4. Set a barbecue up for single-zone, direct grilling – ensuring that you are cooking on medium-hot embers. Grill the skewers directly over the burning coals, turning frequently to ensure both sides are well coloured and the chicken is cooked all the way through when checked with a knife (or to an internal temperature of 70°C or above when probed with a thermometer).
  5. Brush the pitas or flatbreads with a little olive oil mixed with a few drops of water, and warm through briefly on the grill. They can be placed directly on top of the skewers if there isn't sufficient room in the barbecue.
  6. Remove the pitas and transfer to a serving platter. Place the skewered chicken thighs atop, brushed with olive oil. Scatter the spring onion and oregano leaves liberally over the skewers, along with lemon pickle.
  7. This kebab is great served with garlic sauce, Middle Eastern slaw and pickles of choice.

From Berber & Q: The Cookbook by Josh Katz; photography by James Murphy. Published by Ebury Press