Grilled chicken-thigh burgers with tahini sauce and chilli relish

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This recipe is inspired by the burgers from an Israeli takeaway bar I love. It's the marinade and sauce that make it - and a little sugar ensures a lovely caramelised result on the chicken.

Grilled chicken thigh burger with tahini and chilli relish.
Photo: Marina Oliphant


1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp caster sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp grated ginger
4 large skinless boned chicken thighs
4 wholemeal buns, split
chilli relish and tahini sauce (see below)
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
large handful fresh coriander leaves
red onion, thinly sliced
cucumber ribbons

Tahini sauce

4 tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 pinch sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp shredded flat-leaf parsley
pinch sumac
75ml warm water

Chilli relish

400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 red chillies, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place cumin, paprika, turmeric, caster sugar, olive oil, garlic and ginger in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place chicken thighs in marinade and toss until coated. Place in fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat barbecue to hot. Scrape excess marinade from chicken and barbecue chicken for 7-8 minutes on each side or until cooked right through.

Meanwhile, toast buns, cut side down, on barbecue for about 1 minute.

To serve, place bun bottoms on serving plates. Top each with chilli relish (or serve it in a separate bowl), then add lettuce, coriander, onion and cucumber. Finish with a chicken thigh. Drizzle over a little tahini (or serve in a separate bowl), and top with bun tops. Serve immediately.

Tahini Sauce

Place tahini, garlic, salt, oil, lemon juice and the warm water in a bowl and mix to combine.

Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley and sumac.

Chilli relish

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat.

Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Place in serving bowl and allow to cool before serving.

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  • Main Ingredients - Chicken
  • Course - Dinner, Lunch


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