Shish Tawook

Shish tawook, chicken taouk, or Lebanese marinated chicken kebabs or heaven on a stick.

Shish Tawook (Lebanese Marinated Chicken Kebabs) l SimplyScratch.com

Lebanese cuisine is at the tippy-top of my favorites. Not only because it tends to be healthful, but also you’ll find robust spices, lots of lemon and there’s usually tons of garlic involved. Which translates to delicious flavor injected into the recipes and the food. And let’s be real there’s that garlic sauce!!!  

In my tawook recipe, I marinate bite-size pieces of both (boneless and skinless) chicken thighs and thin-cut chicken breasts in fresh squeezed lemon juice, lots of garlic and a plethora of spices. After marinating, the chicken is then threaded onto wooden skewers and grilled.

Shish Tawook (Lebanese Marinated Chicken Kebabs) l SimplyScratch.com

The smell coming off of your grill is spectacular. I swear I could feel my neighbors peeking at me from out of there windows and from around the corner on their back decks. They’re probably wondering “why in the heck  is she taking pictures while grilling?”… but I’m pretty sure the mouth-watering smell brought them out in the first place.

 

Chicken Tawook l SimplyScratch.com (10)

First thing to do is soak your skewers, if using wooden bamboo ones. Metal skewers, obviously wont need it… but bamboo do. Soak for at the very least 45 minutes to 1 hour. Water soaked skewers are less likely to catch fire on the grill.

Chicken Tawook l SimplyScratch.com (1)

Start by placing 1 pound of each boneless and skinless chicken thighs and thin-cut breasts into a large bowl. I use thin cut chicken breast because when it’s cut into bite-size pieces it’s the same thickness as the thighs.

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Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt…

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…1 teaspoon ground cardamom…

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…1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and paprika…

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…1/2 teaspoon ground sumac berries and 1/4 teaspoon of both ground cinnamon and white pepper.

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Then grate in 4 medium-ish cloves of garlic. Grating garlic is the best way to get garlic into a dressing or marinade. Whereas mincing garlic leaves you with larger  pieces of garlic that will burn up or fall off the chicken, grated garlic sort of melts into the dressing or marinade and sticks to the meat better.

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Squeeze the juice from a large and juicy lemon. It almost doesn’t fit in my juicing contraption.

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Lastly, add in 2 tablespoons of safflower, sunflower or extra light olive oil. Any high-heat safe oil will work.

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Then use tongs to toss and combine. Cover and marinate on the counter top for 20-30 minutes.

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Then drain the water from your skewers, and thread! I alternate thigh and breast meat so that each skewer gets a little of each. Plus my OCD brain won’t allow it any other way.

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Place on your grill that is HOT and has been preheated to medium-high. Once the chicken are on the grill, I reduce the heat to medium and cook, rotating the skewers until fully cooked, which is anywhere between 5-8 minutes. A hot grill will cook these quickly and give you good grill marks, just remember to turn it to medium to avoid over cooking or burning. And watch those skewers! There’s still a chance they will catch fire even if they’ve been soaked, so don’t venture too far from the grill.

Shish Tawook (Lebanese Marinated Chicken Kebabs) l SimplyScratch.com

Glorious!

Shish Tawook (Lebanese Marinated Chicken Kebabs) l SimplyScratch.com

As you can see, the ends of some of my skewers still caught fire and some just blackened. It happens.

However, the chicken is perfect. Which is the most important part amiright? It’s moist, flavorful and so darn easy! You now have a few choices on how to serve this; you can either slide the grilled chicken off of the skewers (once cooled, of course) and dunk into garlic dip and eat, or place the chicken pieces on warm pita bread and top with tomatoes, cucumber and onion for a sandwich. OR top a veggie-loaded salad with it… which is what I tend to do most often.

Shish tawook, I heart you.

Check back tomorrow where I’ll be sharing with you how to make Lebanese garlic sauce (aka toum)! You DO NOT want to miss this!

Try this shish tawook in my Chicken Tawook Salad!

Enjoy!

Shish Tawook (Lebanese Marinated Chicken Kebabs) l SimplyScratch.com

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

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Shish Tawook (Lebanese Marinated Chicken Skewers)

Bite-size pieces of both (boneless and skinless) chicken thighs and thin-cut chicken breasts marinated in fresh squeezed lemon juice, lots of garlic and a plethora of spices. After marinating, the chicken is then threaded onto wooden skewers and grilled. You then can either slide the grilled chicken off of the skewers (once cooled, of course) and dunk into garlic dip and eat, or place the chicken pieces on warm pita bread and top with tomatoes, cucumber and onion for a sandwich. OR top a veggie-loaded salad with it... which is what I tend to do most often.

Yield: 10-12 skewers or 4 to 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 20-30 minutes for marinating

Cook Time: 5-8 minutes

Total Time: about 40-45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large pieces

1 pound boneless, skinless, thin-cut chicken breasts, cut into large pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 teaspoon ground sumac

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground clove

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

4 cloves garlic, grated

1 large lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons safflower, sunflower or extra light olive oil

10 to 12 wooden skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour in water

minced parsley, for serving

Lebanese Garlic Sauce, for serving (recipe coming soon)

Directions:

In a large bowl toss chicken with salt, cardamom, sumac, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, white pepper, ground clove and nutmeg. Grate in 4 cloves of garlic and squeeze in the juice from a large and juicy lemon. Lastly, pour in 2 tablespoons of oil.

Toss to combine, cover and marinate on the counter for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 500-600 degrees).

Once the chicken has marinated, thread onto the soaked skewers. Alternating between thigh and breast meat so each skewer has a little of both.

Place the skewers on the hot grill grates, immediately turn the heat down to medium and close the cover. Cook for only a few minutes before using tongs and turning the kebabs. Once the chicken is fully cooked (after about 5 to 8 minutes) remove from the grill.

Slide chicken off of the skewers and serve as is, in pita with tomato, cucumber and onion as a sandwich or on top of a salad. Either way, be sure to serve it with garlic sauce (recipe coming soon).

Shish Tawook (Lebanese Marinated Chicken Kebabs) l SimplyScratch.com

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12 Responses to “Shish Tawook”

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    1
    E — June 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I will so be trying this later this week!!! Shopping for spices today:)
    Thanks Laurie, I couldn’t imagine my life without you! More seriously, you have become a part of our lives through your recipes…. and I’m feeling very grateful to have come across your blog!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 7th, 2016 @ 4:28 pm

      Oh E! You are too kind! I’m so glad you keep coming back and that you are enjoying the recipes! Your comments always make my day! 🙂 <3

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    2
    J'Marinde — June 8, 2016 at 2:20 am

    I do not have a grill. Can I make these in the oven? If so, please tell me how to do so. Thank you!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 15th, 2016 @ 10:37 am

      I would thread onto metal skewers (instead of wood) and broil for about 7 to 8 minutes or until fully cooked. Watch carefully and turn half way through. Alternatively, you could heat a skillet and work in batches browning and cooking the chicken. Also, a cast iron skillet would be great too!

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    3
    Sally — June 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I love the flavors of Lebanese cuisine, too. Like J’Marinde I don’t have a grill. I think I’ll drain the meat from the marinade and brown it on the stove top.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 15th, 2016 @ 10:38 am

      Good idea! Let me know how it turns out for you!

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    4
    Sheila — June 9, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I am going to be all about the skewers this summer! These look so good.

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    5
    Inoue — June 14, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I tried it yesterday and it was SO delicious!!! So yumyum! Thank you for your recipes – your blog is my absolute favourite!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 15th, 2016 @ 10:39 am

      Thank you so much Inoue! I’m so happy to hear you loved the recipe!

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    E — June 22, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Laurie,

    I tried these last night for dinner and was SO excited to taste them, as I don’t think I’ve ever cooked something with THAT many spices! Followed your recipe precisely (minus the wooden skewers, I used metal), but for some reason I could not taste much flavour on the meat.

    We had them with a side of oven roasted potatoes and dipped in your lebanese garlic sauce. All I could taste was the garlic sauce, which was very very garlicky (as a suggestion, you may wish to lower the quantities on that recipe, as I am not entirely sure keeping garlic + oil in the refrigerator for as long as you are suggesting is a good idea). Overall we were very pleased with the garlic sauce, but….. I was disappointed in the meat:( I used fresh good quality spices, but still could not taste much on the meat. Why do you think that was? I may have been tasting some of the garlic sauce before sitting down for dinner. Maybe that’s what biased my taste buds?

    Any suggestions or thoughts?

    Thanks!

    E

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 7th, 2016 @ 9:23 am

      Hi E! I’m baffled as to why you couldn’t taste much flavor on the meat. It could’ve been that your taste buds were blinded by the garlic sauce. That’s the only logical explanation I can think of because a little of that stuff goes a looooong way! And a 1 to 2 month refrigerated shelf life is accurate, longer if freezing. 🙂

      Also, I just wanted to tell you that I did (or so I thought) reply from the app I use on my phone but it (obviously) never sent. My apologies! Thanks for tweeting me and bringing it to my attention.

      Have a great day!

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    Christine Rabidoux — July 10, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Loved the chicken. Only Penzeys had the Sumac berries ground and Cardamom- expect to pay $9 for a small jar of this wonderful stuff. I have to admit – not a fan of that garlic sauce mentioned. Not sure if it was roasted first if it could have been more pleasant. I definitely prefer the Food and Wine cucumber and yogurt sauce in a warmed pita with veggies. Again, chicken 10 stars. Thanks for enticing me to branch out into new flavors/ seasonings.

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