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Shawarma-Spiced Chicken Thighs with Roasted Radishes

For the best chicken shawarma at home, rub chicken thighs with freshly toasted spices, sear on the stove, and finish in the oven.


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meat and veggies on a pan next to salad

Photo by Saveur

These juicy and crispy pan-roasted chicken thighs are rubbed with the spices commonly used for rotisserie-cooked shawarma meat. If you don’t have a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, you can swap in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon ground coriander for the spice mix.


Yield: serves 6
Time: 35 minutes


  • 8 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on a Microplane
  • 3/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch radishes, halved lengthwise and greens reserved
  • Plain full-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, or labneh, for serving
  • Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
  • Side salad or cooked rice, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pat the chicken thighs dry using paper towels. Season all over with 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt, rubbing to adhere. Let the thighs rest, skin-side up, on a plate until ready to cook.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the whole spices: In a small, dry skillet, add the cumin and coriander seeds. Heat over medium, shaking the skillet or stirring occasionally, until the spices are aromatic and starting to look very lightly toasted (watch closely for burning), about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and grind to a medium-coarse powder.
  3. Transfer the spice powder to a medium bowl, then add the garlic, paprika, pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon; stir well. Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons oil to form a thick paste.
  4. Cook the chicken: Pat the skin of the thighs dry once more, then season the meat and skin all over with the spice paste, rubbing to adhere. In 2 large stainless-steel, carbon-steel, or cast-iron skillets over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil to each. When the oil shimmers, carefully slide 4 of the thighs, skin-side down, into each skillet, leaving ample space between the pieces. (Alternatively, you can use 1 skillet and cook the chicken in two batches.) Cook, undisturbed, until the skin is golden brown and pulls away easily from the bottom of the skillet, about 6 minutes. Check the skin of each and rotate the thighs in the skillet as needed (leave them skin-side down) to promote even browning. Continue cooking until the skin is dark brown, about 2 minutes more. Flip the thighs and cook for 1 minute on the remaining side, then turn off the heat.
  5. Transfer the thighs to a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Arrange the radishes between the thighs in a single layer, and season lightly with salt. Brush the radishes lightly with some of the juices from the skillets. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through but still juicy, and the radishes are firm-tender with lightly crispy greens, 8–10 minutes.
  6. Serve with yogurt on the side, hot sauce if desired, and a side salad or rice if desired.

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This post originally appeared on Saveur and was published July 24, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.

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