Budget-friendly Chicken Shawarma and Laffa for 4

Serves 4 (for under £10)

Prep time – 20-30 Minutes | Cooking Time – 75-90 minutes

When it comes to the flavours of Israel, perhaps nothing feels more like a taste of home than an overflowing shawarma, bursting with salad, hummus, tahina and pickles, and you can recreate this dish in your very own kitchen.

Traditionally made from lamb, this Middle Eastern street food has evolved to meet the demands of various regions, with turkey (often mixed with chicken) being the most popular carnivorous filling in Israel. Throughout the Middle East, meat dishes are often dressed with yogurt, but due to Kashrut laws prohibiting the mixture of meat and milk, the Israeli version is dressed with tahina, a smooth seasame condiment.

Use our shawarma spice blend (and recipe) to host your own homemade shawarma and laffa night. A delicious and budget friendly option, this is just one of four meal ideas overleaf, which you can make when you buy and portion a whole chicken yourself.

TLV is the vegan capital of the world – if you don’t eat (or fancy) meat, try our spice mix on mushrooms for a delicious plant-based alternative! 

*N.B. We have made the assumption that you have the right herbs, spices and sundries in the larder. Though this may be an expensive front-end cost, having a well stocked larder can help you to create incredibly flavourful and diverse cost-effective meals to keep family dining fun.


For the Pita/Laffa (adapted from ‘Zahav: A world of Israeli Cooking’ by Michael Solomonov)::

  • 350ml (1.5 cups) lukewarm Water, divided
  • 2½ tsp (7g) Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 500g (2 cups) Plain Flour
  • 500g (2 cups) Bread Flour
  • 1½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Zaatar (optional)

For the Shawarma:

  • 1 large Chicken Breast, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 Aubergine, cubed
  • 1 Onion, ribboned
  • 1 punnet Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • ½ tsp Ground corriander
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • ¼ tsp Onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper


For the Pita/Laffa – prep 1h before cooking shawarma, or the night before

  1. Mix together ½ cup water, the yeast and sugar in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the plain flour, bread flour and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer bowl. Mix together gently. Add the yeast mixture, another ½ cup water and the oil and mix on low or with hands until the dough forms a ball that pulls clear of the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time if needed. At the momentach in the top third. the dough starts to pull clear of the bottom of the bowl, add ½ cup water and continue mixing until incorporated. The dough should feel tacky when slapped with a clean hand, but it should not stick. (If it sticks, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time). If working the dough by hand, you may need to turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth, tacky ball is formed.
  3. Place the dough in the bottom of the bowl, and cover with cling film and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, approx. 1 hour. Alternatively, let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 240ºC Fan (500ºF) with the rack in the top third. Place a baking stone or an inverted baking sheet in the oven to preheat as well.
  5. 5) Roll the dough into 8 balls the size of baseballs. Cover with a cloth and let rise until they are about the size of softballs.

For laffa: 

  • Roll each dough ball as thin as possible (less than 5mm thick is ideal — the laffa should be the size of a Frisbee) with a floured rolling pin on a floured work surface. Drape one laffa over your outstretched hand and quickly invert it onto the baking stone or baking sheet, quickly pulling any wrinkles flat. Bake the laffa until puffy and cooked through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

For pita:

  • Roll each dough ball to about a 6mm thickness with a floured rolling pin on a floured work surface. Place one or two at a time on the baking stone of baking sheet and bake until puffed and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately, or let cool.


For the Shawarma:

  1. Add oil to a pan and heat on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the aubergine to the pan. Fry until slightly browned.
  3. Add onions, mix and fry down for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add mushrooms, spices, salt and pepper. Mix together and cook down for 5 minutes.
  5. Add in sliced chicken breast pieces, and fry for 8-10 minutes in pan, stirring frequently, until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  6. Cover and turn down to a very low light whilst cooking laffa/pita. If needed, add a small splash of water to prevent burning. Serve your shawarma in pita/laffa with Israeli salad, tehina, hummus, zhug or any other condiments of your choosing.

Serve with Israeli salad, hummus, tahina or condiments of your choice.

Chicken Shawarma