Iranian chicken shish with pickled aubergine

Richard Corrigan transforms inexpensive chicken legs into a fragrant feast with fresh herbs, toasted spices, and preserved lemon
By Richard Corrigan
Iranian chicken shish with pickled aubergine
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the pickled aubergine

  • 1 aubergine
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 25 g chopped mint and coriander
  • 200 ml wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 preserved lemon, pith and seeds removed, rind chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar syrup
  • 1 pinch crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 pinch ground, toasted cumin seeds

For the chicken

  • 6 chicken legs
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 3 g ground, toasted cumin and fennel, seeds
  • 10 g preserved lemons, pith and seeds removed, rind finely chopped

To serve

  • flatbreads
  • preserved lemons, pith and seeds removed
  • plain yogurt, for drizzling


1. For the pickled aubergine: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and season lightly with salt and pepper. Wrap it in foil and bake for about 20 minutes, or until soft.

2. Remove the aubergine from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle (leave the oven on to cook the chicken). Chop the aubergine, then place in a bowl and mix in the garlic, followed by the herbs. Stir in the vinegar, preserved lemon, sugar syrup and spices. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, then set aside.

3. For the chicken: remove the bones from all the chicken legs and the skin from 2 of them. Using a knife, finely chop the flesh of the 2 skinless legs to form a mince. Mix this with the spices and preserved lemon.

4. Lay the remaining chicken legs out on a work surface and lightly season with salt and pepper. Rub the yogurt all over the chicken legs. Divide the minced chicken mixture between the 4 legs. Place a metal skewer in the centre of each and wrap the legs around it. Wrap each portion in foil.

5. Bake the stuffed legs in the oven for about 45 minutes. Unwrap the foil parcels and serve the chicken shish in flatbreads with some aubergine pickle and preserved lemon on the side. Finish with a drizzle of plain yogurt.

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