These chicken skewers are mildly flavored, light and super approachable in terms of ingredients. Dont compare the spice levels to a tikka or kabab but they are juicy and delicious especially during hot weather. A super easy recipe which is perfect for summer evenings when you don’t want to slog in the kitchen. Marinate the chicken (or use vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms or even paneer cubes) few hours ahead and grill just before serving. You can make easy sides like yogurt raita or hummus. The tawook is traditionally served with a sharp garlic sauce called toum but I make garlic yogurt instead.
The grilled juicy chicken morsels are best served right off the grill and are also amazing tucked inside pita bread or naan for a satisfying wrap or you can serve them as a side to simple pilafs or salads. I have been making these for many years and developed this recipe over years which is a huge hit with my family.
Tawook marinade is brightly flavorful with lemon and yogurt than shawarma marinade which has more of warm spices going in. I like to add a little ginger and green chilli to my marinade for added kick though traditionally paprika is used. If you do not have thyme, use dried oregano, it gives a close flavor. Use tomato puree if you dont have tomato paste. The recipe is really approachable like I said before 🙂 Use large chunks of chicken breast since they tend to dry out in the high heat of the grill. If you do not have grill, use a hot iron skillet to cook them or broil in the oven. Chicken breast cooks fast and cooks easily but also dries out easily so avoid baking in oven or cooking on slow heat(they will become watery). And as I always always point out, since the ingredients are few- try to use good quality olive oil and organic or very good quality yogurt.
- 1/4 cup whole milk thick yogurt (use greek yogurt or hung curd)
- 1 lemon juiced (about 3 tbsp lemon juice)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger shoot, minced
- 1 Thai green chillies (optional, adjust to tolerance, skip for kids)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1.5 tbsp tomato paste (or 1 tbsp thick tomato puree)
- 1.5 tsp paprika (or kashmiri chilli powder) , gives the color not the heat
- 2.5 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 lb(750 gms) chicken breast, cut in large chunks
- Oil for brushing
- In a large bowl, add all the ingredients except the chicken and using a whisk, mix very well.
- Before adding chicken, taste the marinade and make sure that its sharp salty. If the salt is less the chicken wont have flavor.
- Add the chicken, using your hands, massage the chicken chunks well with the marinade. Cover with a cling film and refrigerate and let marinate for about 5 hours.
- If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 40 minutes. You can use metal skewers as well.
- Skewer the chicken before grilling. Brush liberally with oil. Grill on high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side. Serve rightaway.
- To make garlic yogurt raita simply whisk 1 cup plain yogurt with 1 tbsp grated garlic, thin out with water as desired and add roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, chaat masala, herbs and salt to taste. Make raita atleast an hour ahead for best flavors.
- Serve raita chilled and shish warm- best combo!