These chicken pitas are packed with tasty salad leaves and a sauce made from cucumbers and yogurt. They are incredibly easy to prepare, so when you are short of time, skip the fast food and try these instead.
700g skinless chicken breast fillets
⅓ cup (50g) instant polenta
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds
pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
4 pita breads, wholemeal or white
2 3/4 cups (100g) mixed salad leaves
For the sauce
7.5cm piece telegraph cucumber, grated
1 cup (250g) plain low-fat yogurt
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp mint sauce
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
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Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips. Mix together the polenta, onion powder, paprika, cumin seeds and pepper in a plastic bag. Add the chicken strips, a few at a time, and toss well to coat all over. Remove, shaking off the excess, and set aside on a plate while making the sauce.
To make the sauce, squeeze the grated cucumber, in handfuls, to remove excess moisture, then put into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to mix. Set aside until ready to serve.
Preheat the grill to high. Heat a ridged chargrill pan or heavy frying pan and add half the oil, swirling it around the pan until lightly coated. Add half the chicken strips and cook over a high heat for about 3 minutes or until golden brown all over and cooked through, turning once. Keep hot while cooking the remaining chicken strips, using the rest of the oil.
Meanwhile, warm the pita breads under the grill for 1 minute on each side. Split down the side of each pita to make a pocket.
Fill the pita pockets with the salad leaves. Pile in the chicken strips, spoon over the sauce and serve.
Some more ideas…
Middle Eastern chicken sandwich:Put the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin to a thickness of about 1cm all over. Lightly beat 1 egg and pour onto a plate. Put 1 ½ cups (90g) fine fresh white breadcrumbs on another plate. Season each chicken breast with pepper, then dip into the egg and coat both sides in breadcrumbs, patting them on lightly. Heat half the oil in a ridged chargrill pan or frying pan and cook the chicken breasts, two at a time, for 6 minutes or until golden, turning once. Finely shred ½ small head each of white and red cabbage, and thinly slice 1 sweet white onion. Toss with 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Spoon 1 tbsp hummus into each warmed pita pocket, add some cabbage salad and fill with the hot chicken.
Olive oil is rich in mono-unsaturated fats and is believed to be partly responsible for the low rates of heart disease and stroke in people in Mediterranean countries. Several studies have shown that replacing saturated fat with olive oil helps to reduce high blood cholesterol levels.