Grilled chicken-thigh burgers with tahini sauce and chilli relish

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

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.


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.