Dinner Party for 8 – Chicken Shawarma

Here’s a dinner party that works well for kids and adults. You can do a lot of the prep ahead of time leaving you more time to hang out with guests as you put it all together.


Baba Ghanoush (adapted from Zahav)

1 large Italian eggplant

½ cup basic tahini sauce (click here for link to recipe)

1 clove garlic, minced (I use a micro-plane for this)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Lemon juice to taste

Salt to taste

Place the eggplant on a gas burner over medium low heat and char the skin on all sides. Be sure not to char the skin too quickly as you are also cooking the eggplant flesh on the inside. It should take about 4-5 minutes per side. When done the whole eggplant should be pretty deflated and feel soft all over. Place the eggplant in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes.

While the eggplant is cooling, make the basic tahini.

After 10 minutes, cut the eggplant open and scoop out all the soft flesh. It’s ok if a few bits of charred flesh come with it as it adds a lovely smoky flavor.

Mash the eggplant up roughly then stir in the basic tahini, garlic and olive oil. Taste and add lemon juice and salt as needed.


Tomato Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeds scraped out and diced

3-4 large plum tomatoes, diced

1 shallot, finely minced

1 small green chili, minced

juice of 2 limes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sugar

a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Adjust lime and salt to taste.


Naan Bread (click here for link to recipe)

Chicken Shawarma (click here for link to recipe)

Basmati Rice to serve

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (click here for link to recipe) (Caramel Sauce and strawberries are optional)


Prep Suggestions

The day before

  • Make the cake (20 minutes to mix batter, 1 hour to bake, 2 hours to cool)
  • Mix the naan bread dough, let rise, then store in the refrigerator (5 minutes to mix, 2 hours to rise before putting in the fridge)
  • Make the baba ghanoush (40 minutes)

The morning of

  • Marinate the chicken

90 minutes before serving

  • Make tomato cucumber salad

1 hour before serving

  • Make basmati rice in the rice cooker
  • Place chicken with onions in the oven to cook. When finished cover with aluminum foil and return to a 200-degree oven to hold until ready to serve
  • Roll out 8 orange sized balls of naan dough into rough oblong pieces. As you roll out the naan bread, lay them on a floured baking sheet, dust the surface of the naan with more flour and cover with a piece of parchment. Flour the parchment each time you add another layer of naan bread and dust the tops of the naan bread before laying down another piece of parchment
  • Take out the baba ghanoush and let come to room temperature

When ready to serve

  • Preheat the grill at high heat
  • Grill the naan bread
  • Butter the naan as it comes off the grill and when all the bread is done serve with the baba ghanoush as a starter
  • Remove foil from the chicken and broil on high for five minutes until parts of the onions and chicken have caramelize slightly and are dark brown
  • Remove the chicken and slice across the grain into ½ inch slices
  • Arrange chicken on a platter topped with onions and serve with the rice and tomato salad
  • Dust the cake with confectionary sugar and serve with caramel sauce (this is totally optional as the cake is super delicious and rich on its own)