We’re giving you an excellent, very flavorful and NEW chicken skewer recipe for the summer time. Shish Tawook, with its roots in Lebanese and Turkish cuisine, ready to be grilled in your backyard!
Shish Tawook is tender pieces of chicken that have been marinated in a rich mixture of yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and a blend of earthy, exotic spices to get those amazing flavors going on. Then its grilled beautifully golden-brown, with a slightly crispy exterior, yet tender and juicy from within.
Yet another cracking chicken grilling recipe from the Mediterranean and Levant region. Serve it with warm, fluffy pita or over some pilaf, or simply eat straight off the skewers!! All sound yum…
Grilling meat of all kinds is such a fun meal in summer time. You don’t have to stick with the same old grilling recipes, but can have varied flavors for all your barbecue times.
In the past we loved our Middle Eastern Kofta Kebabs, and were on the lookout for more Middle Eastern flavors, and came across Shish Tawook.
We Simply Love these Middle Eastern Chicken Kabobs, for
- Delicious, new flavors: Shish Tawook has a very flavorful marination. Yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and a variety of spices, infuse the chicken with robust and tangy, delicious flavors.
- Grilled to perfection: The process of grilling the chicken skewers lends a smoky and slightly charred flavor to the dish. The outside of the chicken turns crisp and slightly caramelized, while the inside remains tender and juicy.
- Versatility: Shish Tawook is incredibly versatile. It can be enjoyed straight off the skewer, tucked into a pita bread, or served over a bed of rice.
- Healthy option: Grilled chicken is a healthier alternative to fried or breaded chicken, making Shish Tawook a great choice for the health conscious crowd.
- Very quick meal that can feed the crowd: Grilling chicken skewers is a quick way to feed large crowds, without slaving in the kitchen for hours.
What is Shish Tawook
Shish Tawook, also known as Shish Taouk, has its origins in the Middle East, particularly in Turkish and Lebanese cuisines. The word “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer,” while “Tawook” is derived from “tavuk,” which means “chicken” in Turkish.
Shish Tawook has been a Middle Eastern staple for centuries. The practice of skewering and grilling meat is ancient, and it has been adapted by various cultures throughout history.
In the case of Shish Tawook, it has evolved into a distinct dish, characterized by its particular marinade. This typically includes yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and a blend of spices.
The use of yogurt as a marinade has a long history in Middle Eastern cooking, as it acts as a tenderizer for the meat and provides a tangy flavor.
Over time, this dish has been embraced and adapted by different cultures, leading to slight variations in preparation and presentation across countries in the region.
Today, Shish Tawook is a staple in many Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, in addition to Turkey and Lebanon.
Shish Tawook has gained popularity outside the Middle East, appearing on menus in many kabob restaurants worldwide. It’s often served as a sandwich in Lebanese pita bread with garlic paste (toum), pickles, and sometimes fries or as part of a platter with rice and vegetables.
Shish Tawook Ingredients
- Chicken – We like boneless, skinless chicken thighs for any chicken kabob recipe, as it gives more tender and juicy morsels than chicken breast. But you can cook this recipe with chicken breast as well if that’s your preference. Simply grill a minute or two less for chicken breast.
- Shish Tawook Marinade – A marinade full of flavors, meaning no skimping with the ingredients that goes in it. Our marinade is full of tangy, earthy and robust flavors with following ingredients:
- Plain Greek yogurt – You can also use regular plain yogurt if that’s what you have. Yogurt not only give tangy notes to the kebobs, but it tenderize the meat as well.
- Lemon juice – So good in any kabob recipe.
- Extra virgin olive oil – Lends the necessary moistness to the kebobs.
- Garlic – Never shy from garlic for the authentic flavors.
- Tomato paste – Adds to the flavor and color.
- Spices and herbs – Paprika, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, ground ginger, red chili flakes, pepper.
- Salt – The final yet ultimate flavor booster.
Shish Tawook Recipe
This Lebanese Chicken Skewers recipe happens very quick, under 20 minutes cooking time on your grill.
The important thing to get those flavors going is marinating the chicken for a longer time, so all the flavors have time to penetrate into the meat. Plus it tenderizes the meat as well making the kabob juicy and flavorful.
So make sure you marinate the chicken at least 4-6 hours, or marinate overnight or first thing in the morning (if cooking for dinner) for best results.
1. Make the Shish Tawook Marinade: In a large bowl, add all the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, all the spices and seasonings) and whisk to combine.
2. Marinate Chicken: Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and toss to coat completely. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or overnight to fully marinate.
3. Grill Shish Tawook: Heat a gas grill to medium and lightly oil the grates. Thread the chicken on skewers snuggly, brushing marinade all over the chicken pieces. If you’re using bamboo skewers, remember to soak them in water for at least 30-40 minutes.
Discard any remaining marinade.
Grill for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 to 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Stovetop method for Shish Tawook:
If you do not have a grill, you can cook your skewers in a grill pan on the stove. It takes about 20-25 minutes to cook them on the stove. Simply grease the griddle or pan with oil and cook them on medium high heat, turning every 5 minutes.
Oven Baked Method:
Preheat oven to 500°F. Skewer chicken pieces and place on greased, foil lined, baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Turn skewers over, baste with any cooking liquids and return to oven. Bake and additional 10-15 minutes. Broil 3-4 minutes, while keeping close eye on your chicken, to get nice char marks.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Shish Tawook
Cooking Shish Tawook to perfection involves a few key steps. Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the best Shish Tawook:
- Marination time: Marinating the chicken for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, is crucial. This allows the flavors of the marinade to deeply penetrate the chicken, making it flavorful and tender.
- Cut the chicken into equal-size pieces. Cut all pieces of chicken into similar sizes, so that they cook evenly.
- Use yogurt: Yogurt acts as a tenderizer and helps to keep the chicken moist during the grilling process.
- Choose the right chicken: We recommend boneless, skinless chicken thighs for Shish Tawook, but breast can also be used if you prefer white meat. Thigh meat tends to be juicier and more forgiving if slightly overcooked.
- Soak wooden or bamboo skewers: If you are using wooden or bamboo skewers for this recipe, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes to avoid them catching on fire.
- Avoid overcrowding: Don’t overcrowd the skewers. Thread them snuggly, but don’t smash the chicken pieces together.
- Grill management: Make sure your grill or grill pan is hot before adding the skewers. This will give a nice sear and help to prevent sticking. Don’t flip the skewers too often, let each side get a nice char before turning.
- Resting time: After grilling, let the skewers rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, ensuring it’s moist and flavorful.
How to Serve Shish Tawook
Shish Tawook is a versatile dish that can be served in numerous ways. Here are some of our favorites:
- As a Sandwich: One of the most common ways to serve Shish Tawook is in a sandwich. Stuff the grilled chicken pieces into warm pita bread or a flatbread roll. Add fresh lettuce, sliced tomatoes, pickles, and a generous spread of garlic paste (toum). Some people also like to add French fries inside the sandwich for a bit of extra crunch.
- Shish Tawook Plate: You can also serve Shish Tawook as a main dish on a plate. Arrange the grilled skewers on a bed of rice. Saffron Rice goes great here. While you have the grill fired up, try adding some Grilled Zucchini as a side.
- In a Wrap: Another way to enjoy Shish Tawook is to make a wrap. Place the grilled chicken pieces on a large tortilla or flatbread. Add your preferred fillings, such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and a spread of garlic paste.
- With Dips: Shish Tawook can be served as an appetizer or finger food at parties. Serve the skewers with a selection of dips like Hummus, Tzatziki, and Garlic Aioli.
- On Salads: It goes great with Fattoush salad. You can bulk up any of your other favorite salads like Caesar or Greek Salad by topping them with Shish Tawook.
Leftovers and Storing
Though these chicken skewers are best when eaten straight from the grill, all moist and juicy, they are great as leftovers. They’re a perfect meal prep option, as you can use leftovers for all your future meals in many different ways.
To refrigerate: Simply remove the meat from the skewers and store in an airtight container or zip top bag. Store for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Reheat: Reheat the chicken either in a microwave, on a stovetop or in the oven wrapped in foil at 300ºF for 20-30 minutes.
Shish Tawook, a well-loved dish from Levant and the Mediterranean, is a must for all Kabob lovers out there.
Try these new flavors for your next hand held meal. Get that barbie sizzling with these chicken skewers loaded with rich, tangy flavors. Have fun this summer…
Shish Tawook, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into large chunks)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6-7 garlic cloves, minced or very finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- In a large bowl, add all the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, all the spices and seasonings) and whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and toss to coat completely. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 4-6 hours, or overnight to fully marinate.
- Heat a gas grill to medium and lightly oil the grates.
- Thread the chicken on skewers snuggly, brushing marinade all over the chicken pieces. Discard any remaining marinade. (see note 1)
- Grill for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 to 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- If you do not have a grill, you can cook your skewers in a grill pan on the stove. It takes about 20-25 minutes to cook them on the stove. Simply grease the griddle or pan with oil and cook them, turning every 5 minutes.
Oven Baked Method
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Skewer chicken pieces and place on greased, foil lined, baking sheet.
- Bake 15 minutes, turn skewers, baste with any cooking liquids and return to oven.
- Bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Broil 3-4 minutes, while keeping close eye on your chicken, to get nice char marks.
- If you're using bamboo skewers, remember to soak them in water for at least 30-40 minutes.
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