This recipe was included in the “Tuesday Nights” column of Milk Street magazine. Kebabs are a big procedure on a Tuesday night! 😉 Although the time commitment was misleading, the finished dish was absolutely worth all of the work.
We ate the kebabs with brown Basmati rice, warm naan, and Greek Tzatziki. They could alternatively be served with a drizzle of plain yogurt. The kebabs are an adaptation of mishkaki, grilled skewers of marinated meat from the islands of Zanzibar. According to the article, the islands’ cuisine is a fusion of Persian, Portuguese, and Arabic from the people that once colonized or settled in the area.
This recipe was adapted from “Feast: Food of the Islamic World” by Anissa Helou, via Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street magazine, contributed by Courtney Hill. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 T grapeseed or other neutral oil (I used canola)
2 T tomato paste
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
1 T finely grated fresh ginger
5 medium garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
1 T curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (see Note)
1 medium red, orange or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
Trim the chicken and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks.
In a large bowl, stir together the oil, tomato paste, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Add the chicken and mix, rubbing the seasonings into the meat, until evenly coated.
Marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prepare the grill or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. (I marinated it for about 3 hours.)
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute evenly over the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the grate.
While the grill heats, thread the chicken, alternating with the pepper and onion pieces, onto 6 to 9 metal skewers.
Place the skewers on the pre-heated grill. Cook without disturbing until lightly charred on the bottom and the meat releases easily from the grill, 3 to 4 minutes.
Flip the skewers and cook, turning every few minutes, until charred all over and the chicken is no longer pink when cut into, another 8 to 9 minutes.
Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges, as desired.
Note: Don’t worry if the cut pieces of chicken are irregularly shaped. As long as they’re similarly sized, shape isn’t important. Don’t crowd the skewers on the grill grate. Allow some space between them so heat circulates and the chicken cooks quickly and without steaming.
This is a full-flavored, weeknight summer dish. I served it with sautéed Napa cabbage, grilled radicchio, grilled fennel, and brown Basmati rice on the side. We squeezed fresh lime juice over the grilled meat, but next time I may also serve it with a garlicky lime-yogurt sauce.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used cubed pork tenderloin instead of pork shoulder and modified the proportions.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 ¾pounds boneless pork shoulder OR 2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1lime, plus some wedges for serving
¼cup cilantro or basil, leaves and tender stems, plus more for serving
2tablespoons fish sauce
2garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1jalapeño or other green chile, seeded if desired (I used an unseeded Serrano chile)
1 ½tablespoons fennel seeds
1tablespoon cumin seeds
1tablespoon coriander seeds
1small red onion, sliced, for serving
Season pork lightly with kosher salt and put it in a bowl or resealable bag.
Juice the lime into a blender or food processor and add cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, chile and honey. Blend until the chile and garlic are puréed, then add fennel, cumin, coriander seeds and pulse four or five times to bruise the spices and mix them in.
Pour mixture over the pork, tossing to coat the pieces. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes while you heat the grill, or up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, heat the grill or broiler with a rack positioned 4 inches from the heat source.
Thread the pork onto skewers, leaving a little space between cubes. Grill over the highest heat possible, or broil on high, for 2 to 5 minutes, then flip the skewers and continue cooking until the meat is browned all over and charred in spots. It should be just cooked through: A little pink is OK, but there shouldn’t be any red spots.
Serve the pork with cilantro sprigs and onion slices on top, and lime wedges on the side for squeezing.
This second belated grilling post I would like to share is a marinade which is simple to make and fabulously full-flavored. It’s hard to ask for more! 🙂
The first time I prepared it was for a farewell party for friends moving to Florida. I marinated chicken thighs and grilled them cubed, on skewers, so that it would be easier to eat them without sitting down. We served them alongside Palestinian Chicken skewers, using one of my all-time favorite marinades.
The second time, I marinated whole chicken tenders. Even easier! 🙂 Just as delicious too. This recipe was adapted from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomon and Steven Cook. In both cases, I served the grilled chicken with Tzatziki.
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped yellow onions (I used 2 medium)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup harissa (I used Whole Foods powdered harissa)
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenderloins
bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 to 6o minutes
tzatziki, for serving, as desired (link above)
Combine the ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.
Puree until the mixture is smooth and as thick as a milkshake.
Toss 2 pounds of skinless, boneless, chicken thighs cut into 1-inch chunks with the marinade in a 1-gallon ziplock bag.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to 2 days.
When ready to grill, wipe off the excess marinade, thread the chicken pieces on prepared skewers.
Grill over direct heat until the chicken is lightly charred on the exterior and is cooked through, about 8 minutes total.
I am a total convert to chicken thighs- they really are the tastiest chicken meat and never dry out when cooked. This grilled chicken was tender, flavorful, and wonderful. Cutting the chicken into 2-inch pieces was the perfect size for cooking and eating. The garlic sauce was creamy and SUPER garlicky- amazing!! This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. We ate it on warm naan, smothered with sauce, with salad and our favorite Turkish Bulgur and Vegetable Pilaf on the side. DELICIOUS!!
These kebabs were the focal point of an AMAZING meal. We ate the grilled kebab meat wrapped in warm naan, doused with tzatziki, sprinkled with red onion, with Turkish bulgur pilaf and green salad on the side. I felt like I was in our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant- only better! 🙂 I used naan because the pita bread served in our favorite restaurant is more similar to naan than store-bought pita. I also modified my gold-standard tzatziki recipe by thinly slicing the cucumber into rounds using a mandolin; my mother-in-law recently served tzatziki this way and not only was it delicious, the presentation was wonderful.
I had planned to try this dish ever since seeing a post about it on Savory and Sweet Food, but I had trouble finding sumac. I couldn’t believe my great fortune when sumac appeared in the “new item” section at Trader Joe’s! No wonder I am such a fan of their store. 🙂 This recipe was inspired by savoryandsweetfood.com, mamaslebanesekitchen.com, and saveur.com. I used a gas grill, chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts, substituted fresh dill for half of the fresh mint, and modified the spice blend. DELICIOUS!!