Shish Taouk: Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs

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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!!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts), about 10 thighs
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 16 fresh mint leaves
  • 3 to 4 large sprigs of fresh dill
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T sumac
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 6 T non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • pita bread or naan, for serving
  • tzatziki, for serving
  • sliced or diced red onion, for serving, optional
  • lettuce, tomatoes, for serving, optional
  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes.
  2. In a food processor, make a paste of the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, spices, tomato paste, pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt to the paste. Mix well. Taste for salt.
  4. In a glass bowl or baking dish, marinate the chicken pieces in this mixture and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours.
  5. Then skewer the chicken on approximately eight 10-inch metal skewers.
  6. Grill over medium heat, turning, until chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, 10–12 minutes.
  7. To serve: Remove from skewer onto warm bread. Dress with tzatziki, sprinkle with red onions, shredded lettuce, and/or tomatoes as desired.

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