I was first introduced to Shish Tawook in a local Mediterranean restaurant. Our first meeting was a memorable one; the Shish Tawook was served up in Shawarma form, dressed in a coating of Toum (a flavorful garlic sauce). Its been years since that first encounter, and every so often I get the urge for more of that wonderfully tender, intensely flavorful and perfectly grilled chicken. This past week one of those urges hit me and I decided that it was time that I master the art of making this dish.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, vegetable oil, plain yogurt, garlic, tomato paste, salt, oregano, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and cardamom in a large bowl; add the chicken and toss to coat. Transfer the chicken mixture into a large plastic bag; refrigerate at least 4 hours.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Thread the chicken, onions, and pepper onto metal skewers. Cook on preheated grill until the chicken is golden and no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes each side. Sprinkle the parsley over the skewers.
- This marinade is very messy. It somehow manages to be thick and runny at the same time. As we were assembling the kebabs, the excess marinade was everywhere; on the floor, on the counter, on the cabinets and even on the wall. There’s not much to be done for this, just expect it to be a little messy.
- Marinate or season your vegetables. We didn’t do this, and it left the veggies a little bland. I’m not sure marinating them in the same as the chicken would work, but I may give that a try next time. Other than marinating them, I thought that maybe dipping each in melted butter before skewering may help give them a flavor of their own.
- Round skewers are the most frustrating design ever. Do yourself a favor and throw all of your round skewers away and buy some wide, flat skewers, or at the very least use two round skewers side by side. It seemed like every time we went to turn the kebabs, each individual piece would move whichever way it wanted. It didn’t help matters at all that the black skewers were non-stick coated. This all led to some uneven cooking.
- Everyone’s grill is different. The guy that wrote the recipe? His medium-high heat is different than yours. I guarantee it. Therefore, we threw out the cooking times and grilled the kebabs until they were done, which in my opinion is always much more sound advice.
- I forgot the parsley. I went out of my way to buy it, even commenting to my wife how good it smelled. I then put it in the fridge drawer and forgot it existed.
- Rather than using the amount of onions that the recipe called for, we used a gigantic Vidalia onion. It was a good deal larger than a softball.
- Don’t expect leftovers. A double batch fed 4 adults with just a half kebab leftover.
- We served the kebabs over Basmati rice which was a nice compliment to the chicken.