Peas with chilli and shangleesh

Shangleesh, also known as shanklish, is a Middle Eastern cheese made of dried yoghurt and flavoured with chilli or zaatar. It is sold in balls which are either preserved in oil or vacuum packed, which results in a firmer, drier texture. Happily, it is quite easy to find shangleesh at any of the Inner West’s many Middle Eastern grocers or good delicatessens.

In this recipe I have used the chilli in oil variety, but if you can’t find it, Danish feta would make a satisfactory substitute.

Traditionally shangleesh is made into a salad with red onion, tomato and sometimes cucumber as well.  I love to pair it with sweet green peas, whose sweetness contrasts the tangy cheese brilliantly. Cooked and peeled broad beans would work beautifully as well. Fresh green chillies and spring onions add a little zing, and a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice lets the key ingredients shine.

This is spectacular served with lamb or tossed into hot pasta. Make sure you squeeze over the lemon juice immediately before serving to prevent the acidity of the lemon from discolouring the peas.


• 2 cups cooked green peas

• 150g (3 or 4 balls) of chilli shangleesh in oil

• 2 long green chillies

• 3 spring onions

• a handful or fresh flat parsley and/or mint

• extra virgin olive oil

• lemon juice


1. Seed and finely slice the chillies.

2. Finely slice the spring onions, using the pale green and white parts only.

3. Roughly chop the herbs.

4. Combine the peas, spring onions, chillies and herbs in a bowl.

5. Crumble over the shangleesh.

6. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat and toss lightly.

7. Squeeze over the lemon juice and serve.

Words: Olivia Mackay,