Shish Tawouk (Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Garlic Sauce)

Shish Tawouk (Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Garlic Sauce)

Recipe ©copyright Julie Le Clerc, from Taking Tea in the Medina cookbook (Penguin Books NZ)

Serves 4

Shish kebabs are one of the most common dishes found throughout Lebanon. This chicken version, while succulent and flavoursome, is lifted to majestic heights by the addition of dollops of toum, a remarkable garlic sauce accompaniment. This sauce transforms garlic, and any dish that it accompanies, into something quite sublime.

700g boneless and skinless chicken meat (breast and thigh meat)
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch chilli powder
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pita bread to serve


Cut chicken meat into 1cm cubes. In a bowl, combine garlic and spices with lemon juice and olive oil to make a marinade. Place cubed chicken in the marinade and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, turning chicken in the marinade 2–3 times.
Preheat a barbecue or a gas or electric grill. Thread cubes of chicken onto 12 metal skewers, evenly distributing pieces between the skewers. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill for 2–3 minutes on each side or until browned all over and cooked through. Lay cooked kebabs on opened pita bread to serve hot with creamy garlic sauce on the side.