Last Updated on May 11, 2022
What is Shish Tawook
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.
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
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
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