Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15-20 mins.
Shish tawook (also spelled tawouk and taouk) is a widely popular chicken dish in the Middle Eastern countries. The word shish and tawook both have Turkish origins. Shish meaning “skewer” and tawook meaning “chicken.” While each country may have their own version of shish tawook, the basis is the same, cubed chicken marinated in a spiced yogurt and grilled in skewers to perfection.
The secret to delicious shish tawook is in the marinade. Two of the main ingredients in the marinade are yogurt and freshly squeezed lemon juice. They serve not only provide great flavor but, also to tenderize the chicken as it marinates. I typically to use plain whole milk yogurt but, this recipe is very flexible. You can substitute low fat plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt, with little to no change in overall flavor.
I tend to buy the Tawook spice mix from Lebanon when I am visiting or at my local Middle-Eastern grocer. The mixes are delicious and make things much easier on me. However, I have included the list and quantity of each individual spice that is in the spice mix. Keep in mind, tawook spice mix is very versatile. Some people may not add the ground ginger or garlic like I have below or even the paprika. I have also seen recipes that call for ground clove along with the nutmeg. So, feel free to edit according to your personal preference. The spices and the tomato paste give the chicken its iconic orange color.
Grilling the Shish Tawook
You want to marinate the chicken for as long as you can, but, for at least 1 hour before grilling. I love using the Miracle Thaw Defrost tray, which helps thaw frozen foods by cutting the defrosting time in half. I love grilling tawook outdoors during the summertime but, I do also grill it on my indoor grill pan throughout the year. Always remember to soak your wooden skewers in water before threading the chicken cubes on there, as it helps prevent the skewers from burning easily. I have tried sautéing the chicken without the skewers in a skillet, as well as baking them in the in the oven. I was not impressed with the results either of those ways. They were good but not great.
Chicken Tawook in Lebanon is almost always served with toum. It is the perfect dipping sauce for it. I love to serve chicken tawook alongside grilled onions and tomatoes and fattoush or tabbouli. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Prepare the chicken breast by cutting into large 2 inch cubes. Set aside in a mixing bowl.
Crush the garlic cloves and add to the mixing bowl.
Add the yogurt, olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, tomato paste, salt, and tawook spices.
Mix thoroughly until every piece of chicken is fully coated in the marinate.
Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour but preferably 4 hours in the fridge.
Once the chicken is done marinating, place them on the skewers.
Grill on a preheated medium-high heat grill for 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway in between.
Shish Tawook (Taouk)
- 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts
- ½ cup Whole Milk Plain Yogurt
- 2 tb. Olive oil
- 2 tb. Lemon Juice
- 6 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 tb. Tomato Paste
- 5 tsp. Tawook Spices
- 1½ tsp. Salt
Tawook Spice Mix
- 1 tsp. Paprika
- 1 tsp. All Spice
- ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp. Ground Ginger
- ½ tsp. Oregano
- ½ tsp. White Pepper
- ½ tsp. Nutmeg
- ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
- Prepare the chicken breast by cutting into large 2 inch cubes. Set aside in a mixing bowl.
- Crush the garlic cloves and add to the mixing bowl.
- Add the yogurt, olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, tomato paste, salt, and tawook spices. Mix thoroughly until every piece of chicken is fully coated in the marinate.
- Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour but preferably 4 hours in the fridge.
- Once the chicken is done marinating, place them on the skewers.
- Grill on a preheated medium-high heat grill for 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway in between.
- Serve with toum and pita bread.
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