Last Updated on June 11, 2022
What is Shish Tawook (Chicken Shish Kabob)
Lebanese Shish Tawook Recipe can be one of the tastiest Middle Eastern chicken Kabobs around. The name points to its Turkish origins (Tavuk şiş) however it is quite a common chicken bbq dish in virtually every Middle Eastern country, and with Persians having their own “Jujeh Kabob” version. It can also be spelled as Shish Taouk.
Lebanese Shish Tawook Recipe
Back to Lebanon, Shish Tawook can be found in most fast food restaurants. It is usually ordered as a sandwich of grilled chicken rolled in a “pita” bread with some Lebanese Garlic Sauce and some salty pickles, fries and I’ve even had it once with lettuce/mayo. It can also be served in a plate with a side of rice and grilled veggies. In its most basic form, Shish Tawook is just grilled chicken breast, but the secret is in the marination. I’ve had Shish Tawook at home and in restaurants pretty much all my life, and despite the common flavors of garlic and lemon being shared in the Lebanese-style Shish Tawook, spices and flavorings may vary quite a lot.
While putting this recipe together, we experimented with a few different chicken marination and spices and settled on one that our guests and us loved the most. This recipe was inspired mainly from our family friend Mohammed who used to be a chef in a Lebanese restaurant in Michigan. In addition, we share a small secret later in the post that we learned from Laba, another family friend who owned and operated restaurants in Lebanon.
Shish Tawook Marinade
The Chicken Shish Tawook marinade has a whole bunch of spices, along with garlic, yogurt and lemon juice. You could possibly buy the ready-made spice mix online, but we always love to make the spice mix from scratch for freshness and to also tweak it to our liking.
Grilling the Shish Tawook (Chicken Shish Kabob)
If you use flat stainless steel skewers the meat will cook faster on the inside and you won’t have to grill them for as long, yielding a juicier outcome. The recommendation here is to grill on medium heat between 12-18 minutes max.
A Little Secret For Moist Chicken
Right when you take the chicken off the grill, place the skewers (if they fit) or chicken chunks in an empty warm pot, close the lid tightly and keep them locked for about 8-10 minutes. The trapped vapors and moisture inside the pot will make the chicken very moist. We first discovered this trick several years ago at “Gharakia Nehmeh Restaurant” in Hasroun, Lebanon, and which is operated by our family friend Laba Nehmeh and mom has since used this trick with all grilled chicken.
Shish Tawook Chicken Recipe - Grilled Chicken Kabobs Wraps
Chicken and Marinade
- 2 lbs boneless chicken breast cut into cubes/Kabab chunks
- 1 cup lemon juice
- slice lemon optional
- 15 cloves garlic crushed
- 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon white pepper ground
- 1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme or ground oregano
- 1/3 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
Shish Tawook Kabob Wrap
- 4 teaspoons Garlic Paste Lebanese style
- 4 loafs pita bread
- 4 tomatoes grilled
- 2 cups French fries
- 8 salted pickles Lebanese style cucumber pickles
Making the Marinade
- Cut the chicken breasts into cubes of about 2 inches each. The cubes shouldn't be too small otherwise they'll dry quickly on the grill.
- Place chicken cubes in a bowl, add all marinade ingredients and rub with hands until all ingredients assimilated well.
- Let marinate in a covered container in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Grilling the Kabob Skewers
- Skewer the chicken right before grilling.
- Grill on a BBQ on medium heat for 12-15 minutes maximum turning frequently. Overcooking can dry the chicken.
- Alternatively, you can lay the skewers on the edges of a deep Pyrex dish and bake in the oven at 400F for 15 mins.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken cubes and place in a pot while covering the lid tightly. Let rest for 5 minutes to help the chicken self-steam and turn juicier and softer.
Making the Shish Tawook Wrap
- Spread 1 teaspoon of Lebanese garlic paste along the center/diameter of a pita bread.
- Add 4-5 chicken kabobs.
- Garnish with salted cucumber pickles, French fries, grilled tomatoes or peppers (optional)., Roll and enjoy. You could also toast the wrap roll through a panini grill for 2-3 minutes.
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I love this recipe, thank you so much for posting it! I have made it several times and it is always very well received. Delicious!
Hi boss i want to know how many kg needed for 70 people ? And can u share the receipe according to that amount if possible shukraan ya maalyim.
I would budget 250-300 grams per person.
This recipe was so, so bland. Granted I only marinated it for two instead of four hours, but at the end, all I tasted was the lemon. Needed A LOT more salt, less lemon, and even with 15 garlic cloves I didn’t taste the garlic. I grilled it on my Traeger with applewood pellets and not even that flavor came through.
I would also use thighs instead of breasts.
Might wanna check the garlic source Eric. In the last couple of years our markets have been flooded with chinese garlic that has no flavor. 15 garlic cloves is a lot and should add an intense flavor.
What a great tip about using a tight lid pot to steep the chicken after you’ve roasted it! Thanks!!
Thanks for this, I’ve been doing this every summer for several years for when I go camping. It’s great! One modification I make though is to add a bit of sumac to the marinade. I finally bought a barbecue (in the woods we just dig a hole in the ground and put a metal grill over that, collecting wood from around etc..) so am looking forward to trying them in the garden in a more controlled manner and to be able to try the last steaming step also!