Crisp chilli chicken

Give chicken the Middle Eastern treatment with the enchanting spices of za'atar and sumac. Serve with a zesty homemade mayonnaise for a special supper.

Unfortunately we are unable to add this recipe to your favourites, please try again later.


For the za'atar crumb

For the brine

For the chicken

For the glaze

  • 330g/11½ oz palm sugar (jaggery)
  • 15 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 50g/1¾oz hot pepper paste, available in specialist and Middle Eastern shops (optional)
  • 165ml/5½fl oz cider vinegar

For the lime mayonnaise

To serve

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  1. Take all the skin off the chicken pieces except for the wings. Put on a baking tray and cook for approximately 40-50 minutes or until golden and crisp. Tip the fat out of the tray a few times whilst cooking. Once the skin has cooled finely chop into little pieces. Turn the oven up to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

  2. To make the brine bring 200ml/7fl oz of water to the boil with the paprika and salt. Tip into a bowl and add 800ml/1¼ cold water. Once the brine is at room temperature tip onto the chicken pieces and put in the fridge for 3 hours. After 3 hours rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry

  3. For the glaze, put the chillies and garlic into a food processor and blend to a coarse purée. Put the sugar in pan over a medium heat until it starts to caramelise (CAUTION: boiling sugar is extremely hot). Add in the purée and hot chilli paste and cook for 10-20 minutes. Then add in the cider vinegar - be careful it will spit a bit. Cook for 10-20 minutes or until the glaze is at a syrup consistency.

  4. Meanwhile, make the mayonnaise. Blend the egg yolks in a small processor along with the mustard and vinegar. Whilst the motor is running very slowly drizzle in the oil to form a mayonnaise. Finally, blend in the lime pickle and juice and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

  5. Place the chicken pieces onto a large baking tray well spaced apart and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes, we are looking to cook the chicken two-thirds of the way through.

  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and generously ladle the glaze over all the pieces, use about half the glaze. Place back into the oven for 5 mins. Take out and repeat the process.

  7. Meanwhile make the crumb, combine all of the ingredients and place on a tray.

  8. Once the chicken is cooked through and glazed well take out of the oven. Coat the chicken in the crumb. Serve with the lime mayo on the side and wedges of lime.

How-to videos

You need JavaScript to view this clip.

How to make mayonnaise using a food processor