Shish Tawook

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Shish Tawook is a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon & garlic and served with pita bread

  • Author: Yumna Jawad
  • Posted:

Shish Tawook (Chicken Skewers)

Shish Ta what?! It’s Shish Tawook! It’s a very popular dish from Lebanon, where both my parents are from. Although the dish is Lebanese, the origin of the name is from Turkey. Shish means skewers and tawook means chicken. The Ottoman (Turkish) Empire ruled Lebanon for a few hundred years. That explains some of the Turkish influence on Lebanese food!

Ok, that’s your quick history lesson of the day. Now, for the recipe lesson of the day! How do you feel about perfectly tender and juicy chicken that’s been marinating in yogurt, lemon juice and garlic? I feel so good about this recipe, and I know you will too!

Shish Tawook is a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon & garlic and served with pita bread

Steps to Make Shish Tawook

This recipe is all about the the marinade!I’ve played around with different options and this combination was my favorite!

Essentially the three most important ingredients in the marinade are yogurt, lemon juice and garlic (6 whole garlic cloves!). But I also like to add tomato paste to give it that rich red color, and some other middle-eastern spices including all spice, paprika, cinnamon, oregano and ginger.

Large bowl of the marinade for Shish Tawook: lemon juice, olive oil, yogurt, garlic, tomato paste, salt, all spice, paprika, cinnamon, oregano, ginger, salt and pepper

Mix it all together and you’ll get this orangey creamy color ready for you to coat the chicken with

Large bowl of the marinade for Shish Tawook all mixed: lemon juice, olive oil, yogurt, garlic, tomato paste, salt, all spice, paprika, cinnamon, oregano, ginger, salt and pepper

Next, I add the large cubes of chicken breast to the marinade and make sure that everything is well coated. While the yogurt and lemon are crucial parts of the flavor of this dish, they also act as a tenderizer for the chicken. That’s what makes the chicken come out so juicy and tender. Double action duty for the yogurt and lemon! Time to cover it up and forget about it for 4 hours, or even overnight if you can! That’s the hard part…I know…

Large bowl of Shish Tawook marinating in the sauce

Skewer the chicken right before you’re ready to cook it. I like adding chunks of white onions on each skewer to eat with the sandwich. I love how onions get sweeter when they’re grilled…the perfect vegetable with this shish tawook.

Large white plate showing 5 bamboo skewers with shish tawook and onions skewered

Traditionally, these chicken skewers are meant to be grilled outdoors. You can also use an indoor grill pan or regular pan if you don’t have a grill pan. Either way, you’d be surprised how quickly the shish tawook cooks, all thanks to the yogurt and lemon juice in the base that helped tenderize the chicken!

Grill plan showing 5 bamboo skewers with shish tawook and onions skewered and getting grilled

When it’s cooked, I love making sandwiches with fresh lettuce, pickles (not pictured here) and lots of store-bought or homemade Lebanese garlic sauce.

One skewer of shish tawook on a pita bread with butter lettuce and a small spoon adding garlic sauce to the chicken

Now you’re ready to pile on that garlic sauce you guys! It’s dairy-free, rich in flavor and totally takes takes the shish tawook sandwich to another level!

One skewer of shish tawook on a pita bread with butter lettuce and garlic sauce over the chicken. Hands pulling out the bamboo stick in order to make a sandwich with the shish tawook

Tips & Tricks for Shish Tawook

  1. Marinade the chicken for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight in the fridge to allow the chicken to tenderize. Trust me, it’ll make the chicken more juicy and flavorful!
  2. When you take the chicken off the grill, immediately cover up the chicken in pita bread and close tightly. I never understood why my parents always did this when I was younger. Recently I learned that the pita bread helps trap the vapors and moisture to make the chicken even more juicy!
  3. I recommend using plain yogurt if possible and avoid Greek yogurt. The water content from the regular yogurt helps to keep the chicken moist.
  4.  If you’re using bamboo sticks for grilling, it is best to soak it for at least 30-45 minutes. Let’s avoid a fire on the grill 😉

It’s really hard to mess up this recipe. It comes out moist and flavorful, and makes a great addition to salads, rice, grain bowls or just plain pita bread with garlic sauce.

Shish Tawook is a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon & garlic and served with pita bread

I hope you love this feelgood shish tawook recipe. If you make it, please leave me a comment below telling me how you like it, or use hashtag #feelgoodfoodie on Instagram so I can see (and regram!) your recreations.

5 from 2 votes
Shish Tawook is a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon & garlic and served with pita bread
Shish Tawook
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
18 mins
Total Time
28 mins
 
Shish Tawook is a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon & garlic and served with pita bread
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Chicken Skewers, Grilled Chicken
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 115 kcal
Author: Yumna Jawad
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • ​1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion cut into about 16 chunks
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, all the seasoning and salt/pepper) and whisk or stir to combine.
  2. Place the chicken cubes in the same bowl, and coat the the chicken in the marinade. Cover, and let rest/marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  3. Thread the chicken on skewers right before grilling (it should fit about 16 6 inch bamboo skewers). Add one chunk of onions to each skewer, if desired.
  4. Grill on medium heat for 5-8 minutes per side.
  5. Place the chicken inside pita bread to help keep the chicken moist before serving.
  6. Serve with pita bread, butter lettuce and garlic sauce, if desired.
Recipe Notes

 

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • The nutritional information does not include the garlic sauce or the pita bread.
Nutrition Facts
Shish Tawook
Amount Per Serving (2 g)
Calories 115 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 36mg 12%
Sodium 185mg 8%
Potassium 248mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 1.1%
Vitamin C 1.3%
Calcium 1.8%
Iron 2.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Grilled Chicken Skewers. Shish Tawook is a popular Lebanese grilled chicken skewers recipe. It's tender juicy chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon & garlic and served with pita bread. | Chicken Recipes | Lebanese Recipes | Healthy Chicken Recipes | #chicken #skewers #healthymeals #lebaneserecipe #feelgoodfoodie

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