Chicken shish tawook a simple and delicious middle eastern staple!
The best thing about Shish Tawook is it taste better when marinated longer so you can make it the night before and when you’re ready to grill all you have to do is skewer the chicken! So simple and delicious. I, once again am feeling like the father in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding telling you guys the root of every word but its just so interesting! Shish comes from the Turkish word meaning skewer and Tawook comes from the old Turkic word tavook which means chicken. Turkic is a language family of some thirty five languages spoken by Turkic peoples from Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China. The Turkic language with the greatest number of speakers is Turkish. So there you have it, shish tawook translates to skewer chicken which is exactly what it is.
Shish Tawook to Syria and Lebanon is the equivalent of a hamburger in the US. It’s at every fast food restaurant and its simply chicken wrapped in warm pita bread and served with garlic sauce and/or pickles. Sometimes they will even add french fries to the sandwich or lettuce and tomatoes. It’s so good and its all in the marination. It varies from place to place based on the spices used but for the most part its a yogurt tomato based marinade.
Metal skewers are ideal to use because it allows the chicken to be cooked inside out and it’ll even decrease the cooking time. But if you only have bamboo that’ll work. I found this tip online years ago and it’s life changing. I can’t remember the exact source to properly credit it but if I do I’ll update this. This tip will make the chicken super moist and tender; after you marinade the chicken, skewer them and grill you should put the chicken in a warm pot with the lid tightly secured for roughly 10 minutes and that will retain the heat and make them super moist.
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 6 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Cut the chicken breast into 1 inch cubes
Mix all the ingredients together in a ziplock bag, add chicken and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight
- Skewer the chicken right before grilling
- Grill for 12-15 minutes on medium heat
- As soon as you remove them from the grill, place the chicken in a warm pot with a tight lid closed for 5 minutes to make them even more moist
- Serve over pita bread and garlic paste or hummus