Tag Archives: Dinner Ideas

Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken

For this week’s recipe tester, we’re all about Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken.  If you haven’t come across Akis Petretzikis yet, he has a brilliant YouTube channel which has been given alot of publicity by Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube network. His recipes are pretty simple, and not always authentic, but generally they look pretty tasty, and he’s a joy to watch.  Akis is Greek, which is brilliant for spreading the word about Greek food, and also means he has a rather entertaining accent (particularly when he’s talking about mash (-ed potato). Anyways, we love his channel and jumped on there for some supper inspiration the other day.  I read a few of the recipe titles out to Charles and it was this Sticky Lemon Chicken which he chose.

Whilst this was technically approached in the same way as my stab at Nigel Slater’s Lemon Curd, I actually made quite a few changes to the basic recipe, as the amount of soy sauce Akis used looked to be both far too salty and ridiculously unhealthy, and cutting that down meant we needed to add more honey to balance out the flavours.  Also, we used skinless and boneless chicken thighs instead of breast due to the amount of time the sauce would need to simmer to reduce (and we didn’t want the meat to dry out or become tough), and I also wanted to add some vegetables to make it feel a bit more like a Chinese takeaway.  That said, I would have added a chopped pepper had the idea occurred to me sooner!  The lemon slices look pretty in the finished dish, but they were far too bitter for me to actually eat!  Charles munched his way through all but the very ends seemingly happily – it’s up to you if you fancy trying them!

Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken

Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken


  • 5-6 chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Thumb sized piece ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 lemons
  • 80ml or so dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • Basmati or wholegrain rice to serve


  1. Trim the chicken thighs and cut them into reasonably large chunks - large enough that you have to half them to eat them elegantly! Set this aside and wash your chopping board well or grab a new one.
  2. Grate the garlic and ginger, slice the onion, peel and cut the carrot into quarter discs.
  3. Slice the lemons into rounds and get the groundnut oil heating up in a large frying pan or wok.
  4. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the lemon slices flat in the pan and brown them on both sides.
  5. The juice should start to seep out and the edges of the lemon slices should caramelise. Remove these from the pan and set aside.
  6. Turn the heat down a little and then add in the onion and carrot and fry these off until they are well on their way to becoming cooked.
  7. Add the garlic and ginger, being careful not to let either of those burn. Cook out for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Next, you can fry off the chicken. Try to get some decent colour on it by turning the heat back up. You may wish to add a touch more oil if things are starting to stick.
  9. Now get your rice cooking, as it will likely need around 15 minutes to be ready to serve up alongside the main event.
  10. Once the chicken is nicely sealed and coloured, add the vegetables and lemons back into the pan.
  11. Pour in the soy sauce and honey, and mix everything together. The lemons will continue to flavour and add juice to the sauce, so keep tasting it as it reduces down to make sure you're happy with the flavour balance. You may need to add more soy sauce or honey depending on your taste and how sour the lemons are.
  12. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a sticky sort of syrup and the chicken is cooked through. Taste again before serving and gobble it up, feeling virtuous for resisting that takeaway!
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Excitingly, this was made entirely in our new kitchen, and we’re pretty pleased with the natural lighting and backdrop around the hob area.  The splashback was temporary at the time and is now almost finished.  Unfortunately, the finished dish is pretty dark and unappetising looking but it really was delicious!

Why not try some of our Asian inspired recipes, such as our Spicy Peanut Butter Chicken, Mango Prawns or Steak and Soba?  Now I really want stir fried beef….

Chicken Shawarma

If you love street food, a bit of spice, juicey chicken and crisp salad, this one’s for you. Make it your own with your favourite salad items, a different bread, perhaps, or ditch the yoghurt for a chutney, but this is my favourite way to eat it and my ultimate comfort food.

This is such a satisfying supper, or even a weekend lunch for friends – perfect for putting all the extras in the middle of the table and helping yourselves. It is as delicious texturally as it is flavour-wise, and I know that when I’m in the mood for nothing else, this will do the trick.

chicken shawarma feast for one

You will need (to serve 2):

8 boneless chicken thighs

4 flatbreads, wraps or pitta (I used my own recipe flatbreads which add to the preparation time but make a real difference and can be made ahead of time)

A generous salad, such as lettuce, cucumber, ribbons of carrot, crisp peppers and avocado – something to add crunch and even more texture contrast

3 cloves garlic (or 2 if they’re very large)

Thumbsize piece ginger

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1/3 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp sumac (a lemony Moroccan spice you can buy in the speciality section of Tesco)

Dash lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Good glug olive oil

For the curried yoghurt (can be replaced by plain yoghurt, chutney or mayonnaise in a pinch):

150ml Greek yoghurt

Dash lemon juice

Pinch salt

3 tsp curry powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1. Prepare the chicken thighs by removing any fat and sinew – it’s easiest to do this with a clean pair of kitchen scissors. 
2. Grate the garlic and ginger into a medium sized bowl. Make the marinade by adding the dried spices, seasoning, lemon juice and olive oil.  how to marinate chicken 3. Add the chicken to the bowl and mix everything together. Add more oil if it’s too dry.  Set aside for as long as you can manage – at least a couple of hours, ideally, but if you’re short on time you can make your salad, yoghurt dip and set the table while the chicken soaks up the flavour. how to griddle chicken thighs

4.  Preheat the oven to 180c and put a griddle (or frying pan if you don’t have a griddle pan) onto a high heat on the hob. When it’s good and hot, place your chicken thighs onto the griddle, 4 at a time so as not to overcrowd the pan. I really enjoy cooking like this – the smell is gorgeous and you get lots of sticky caramelised edges. When one side is starting to catch, flip them over and repeat on the other side, then place on a baking tray for the oven to make sure they are cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, mix the spices, salt and lemon juice into the yoghurt and that’s that ready for the table.  chicken shawarma recipe   5. Cook for about 20 minutes then remove from the oven. If you’re inexperienced with cooking meat , you may want to cut a piece open to check it’s cooked through. how to use up flatbreads  6. Serve up with the flatbreads, salad and yoghurt dip, and you have yourself the most wonderfully messy DIY sandwich. The flatbreads pictured are homemade (and so easy) but you can use wraps or pitta if you’d prefer something shop-bought. chicken shawarma recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala

It’s time to turn your beautiful, beautiful homemade Tikka Masala paste into a lovely curry which feels pretty proper and like a bit of an accomplishment. You could, of course, make this with prawns or something instead, you’d just need to add them to the sauce pretty well near the end and skip the oven stage. And you could use curry paste from a jar if you really wanted to.

This is a perfect recipe for a day at home when you have some time in the afternoon to get supper cooking for later on, and when you’re around to check on it every now and again.

You will need: 

1 tsp groundnut oil

1 onion

1 clove of garlic 

5 tbsp Tikka Masala paste, make your own or buy it in a jar, but you’ll enjoy it much better if you make it yourself

Greek yoghurt, I used about 2 tbsp for the marinade and 2 tbsp in the sauce, but use more if you’d like it milder or creamier 

1 can chopped tomatoes 

3/4 bottle passata 

1 stock cube dissolved in half can of boiled water

8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs. You could use breast if you like, but marinate for longer and cook for only around 10 minutes in the oven then serve as soon as the sauce is good and hot

Dash lemon juice 

1. Chop the onion, and cook on a medium heat in a little groundnut oil in a large saucepan. You’re aiming for the onions to take on a bit of colour as this will really add flavour to the sauce base. 

2. Turn the heat down a little. Grate in the garlic and then spoon in the curry paste. I used about 4 tsp of the paste as I don’t like things too spicy, but you can use as much or as little as you’d like. Obviously you could double this up if you wanted to make more sauce with double the tomatoes and stock. Allow this to gently cook out to let the flavours mature. 

 3. Add in the tomatoes, the passata and a little of the stock (prepare in the tin if using a stock cube), stir well, put a lid on the saucepan and allow to simmer. Check on this every 20 minutes or so, giving it a stir, turning the heat down a little, or adding more stock or water if necessary. 


4. Add another 3 or 4 tsp of the paste to a bowl, then add in 2 tbsp of yoghurt and mix well. 


5. Prepare the chicken. I find it easiest to do with a clean pair of kitchen scissors to remove as much fat and sinew as possible. One clean, cut eat thigh in half.


6. Add the chicken to the marinade and make sure each piece is well coated and then cover with cling film. You can prepare this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge if you like, and it’s best to allow the sauce to simmer for a couple of hours to really develop flavour.


7. When you’re ready to get cooking, preheat the oven to 180C fan, and spread the chicken out on a baking tray lined with tin foil. Bake for 30-40 minutes. 


8. Don’t worry if some of the marinade runs off and catches; just keep an eye on the chicken. When it’s ready, add to your sauce and allow to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until your accompaniments are ready. 

9. Add a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt, a couple of drops of lemon juice, and serve.

If you’d like some bread with that, check out my recipe for parathas