How to Make Authentic Lebanese Chicken Kabobs (Shish Taouk)
I would like to begin by telling you about my first experience in Beirut, Lebanon. It was in October of 2005. My friends took me to a very popular restaurant. As a Lebanese American, Lebanese cuisine was very familiar to me. I grew up on it. However, I had never been served quite like this.
First, you start out with a table full of appetizers. This is called, the maza. Chick Pea dip (Hommos Bi Tahina), Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghanouj), Steak Tartare (Kibbee Nayeh), Fried Cheese (Halloum), Spinach Pies (Fatayer Bi Sabanekh), etc. is just but a small sample of what you are served. I have to say, that I was full after this.
Then they bring out the grilled meats. Beef, Lamb, Chicken. You can order any combination that you wish. The following recipe is for the traditional Chicken Kabob (Shish Taouk). Shish refers to skewer. Taouk reiter to Chicken. Taouk is actually a Turkish word.
4-6 chicken breasts. Skinned and de-boned.
2-3 cloves of garlic. If you like it stronger use more garlic.
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper. I included pepper here but sometimes white pepper is used.
1/2 tsp. allspice (Bhar) This is a mixture of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is used in many savory dishes in Lebanese cuisine.
1 / 4-1 / 3 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of oil. Use vegetable or canola. Olive oil will overpower the dish.
Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Cut in 1 “pieces. Suitable for skewering.
Peel garlic. Mash together with salt. Make a paste on a cutting board with the garlic and salt.
Add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Place chicken in a bowl or zip lock bag. Pour marinade over the chicken. Marinate at least for an hour. Overnight is preferred as it really gives the chicken a good flavor.
Skewer chicken. Grill for 10-15 minutes. Keep them turning. Use tongs to turn the skewers.
Grill over medium-high heat. This can be done a gas grill or stove top grill but the real Lebanese way is over coals. Lump charcoal is best.
Serve with Chick Pea Dip (Hummus Bi Tahina), Fresh Pita Bread halves, Parsley Salad (Tabouleh), French Fries, Olives (Zeitoun), etc.
So, there you have it. If you can not make the visit to Lebanon. Fire up the grill and bring the flavors of the Middle East into your home with Authentic Lebanese Chicken Kabobs. By the way, traditionally you finish the meal with Turkish Coffee, Cream filling with Honey (Kashta), Baklava, Fresh Fruits, etc.