Middle Eastern Chicken Skewers/ Shish Taouk

Hello Friends! It’s been a while, huh?

My brother flew in from California to spend his spring break with us, and we’ve just been busy with him. I feel like I had been waiting for his upcoming trip for SOOOO long, and as soon as he came the time jut flew by. I had so many cooking/baking plans for him, but there’s only so much food that I can stuff him with 🙂

The day my brother was set to arrive, I decided to make Cheesesteak Sandwiches for him. I needed to make a quick run to the local meat shop to buy the meat for the sandwiches, and while I was there I picked up a packet of boneless chicken breasts. After coming home and prepping the meat, I decided to marinate the chicken for Shish Taouk (I found the recipe here. It is by far the most authentic recipe I have found so far!) and just freeze it. This was my first time freezing marinated meat. The verdict? AMAZING! I can’t believe I waited so long to try this method! It makes life so much easier, especially if you’re in a bind to get dinner/lunch cooked. You just marinate the chicken (fresh, not previously frozen) and freeze. Then you allow it to thaw at room temperature, skewers those suckers up, and grill/broil until done. That’s all! Check and check 😉




Shish Taouk

(Arab Chicken Skewers)

Yield: 3 to 4 Servings


  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into desired sized pieces
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated


Combine all ingredients except chicken together in a bowl and mix well. Add chicken and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (overnight is best).

Pierce chicken onto skewers and cook on an oiled grill until the meat is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes on each side.

Note: Fresh chicken can be marinated and put in the freezer. Whenever you want to eat, take the chicken out of the freezer and allow it to thaw at room temperature.  Also, to prevent chicken from drying, cover cooked skewers with aluminum foil until ready to eat.  This will trap the steam and prevent the meat from drying out.


24 responses

    • Cumin is actually really common in Arab cuisine! I’ve seen oregano used here and there too 🙂
      Dude, I don’t know what I waited so long to try freezing marinated meat! It makes prep work so easy and the marinade really penetrates into the meat.

  1. We love love this dish. Originally, should be made with chicken thighs- boneless skinless- but you can make these with breasts too. We also put slices of tomato, bell peppers and diced onions in between chicken. A tip : if you are tight in time you can just throw them in a backing dish without the skewers and they will turn delicious too :). Thanks for reminding me of this amazing dish I will make it this weekend.

    • You’re right, this would be delicious with chicken thighs and diced peppers and onions! I would love to use thighs but unfortunately our local halal store doesn’t carry any 😦

  2. As-Salaamu Alaikum sister,

    I never thought to marinate meat/chicken before either, very good idea! also great tip for keeping the chicken moist (I always wondered how to char/grill without loosing all the moisture) will be trying that inshaAllah. You can so tell i don’t come from a family of cooks lol
    May Allah Bless You

      • I love to hear from you my dear sister 🙂 Here in The States since Halal meat markets seem to be spread out, people tend to buy meat in bulk and freeze. I had heard of people applying marinades to meat and freezing, but never tried it myself. It is so wonderful! The meat marinates really well and it really makes the entire meal come together so quick! InshAllah I plan on experimenting with more flavors, so I’ll keep you posted 🙂

  3. Delicious!! Love shish taouk, but I always take the lazy way and throw it on a baking sheet. I haven’t made it in a while so this sounds really good right about now! I made this and a whole ME dinner for my sisters mehendi a few years back. Came out wonderful 🙂

    • Thank you for stopping by!
      So whenever I want to bake instead of grill, I skewer the chicken as I would, line a baking pan with foil, put a rack on the pan (such as a rack from the toaster oven; here’s a picture of what I mean: http://ak.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/2447030/preview/stock-footage-taking-grilled-meat-and-vegetable-skewers-out-of-the-oven.jpg )
      And then cook on a high temperature, such as 450 or higher. I can’t give you an exact time, because it depends on how big or little your chunks of meat are, but just keep an eye on it. A good indicator is when the juices from your meat run clear.
      If you give it a shot, I hope you enjoy it! We love these kababs! 🙂

      • Thanks so much for the detailed and prompt reply! I’m quite new at cooking so I’m still unsure about the correct cooking method. I have 1 inch cubed chicken breasts. Approximately how long do u think they will require? Also do we save a bit of the marination for basting it while it cooks? And should papaya paste be added to the marination or will the pieces become tender on their own?

      • No problem! I love hearing from my readers, including questions 🙂
        So if you have the chicken cubed that small you can even go ahead and set the oven to broil. Just keep an eye on the chicken, when it starts turning brown, flip it and broil the other side. I wouldn’t cook it more than 8 minutes or so on each side.
        Also, if you marinate over night you dont need papaya paste. Chicken for a really good job at becoming tender if it’s marinated overnight. And no my dear, you don’t need to baste 🙂
        Oh, and here’s a tip that has helped me many times: if you’re going the baking/broiling route, it’s easy for the meat to dry out. To prevent that, once you remove the meat from the oven, place it in a covered dish, or wrap it in aluminum foil. Covering the meat as soon as it comes out of the oven will create a little steam and ensure that the meat stays juicy.
        Good luck my friend! And if you do decide to make it, please come back and tell me how it went 🙂

  4. hello! So I gave it a go and the chicken turned out to be undercooked from the inside a bit. But the outside was browned. I put them back in, but they came out charred. What went wrong?

    • Ahh, I’m so sorry for the super late reply! I’ve been falling behind on answering questions- I’m sorry you had a bad experience with these. I think honestly you’re just going to have the gauge for yourself the doneness. If you have a hard time with the oven, maybe you can just quickly cook these in a skillet on the stovetop?

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