Shish Tawook (Turkish Chicken Kebab) is a popular Turkish dish made of chicken pieces marinated in olive oil, milk, tomato & pepper paste, and aromatic spices. Although these tender and juicy chicken skewers are originally from Turkey, they are also quite common in Middle Eastern or Balkan countries.
This authentic Shish Tawook/Turkish Chicken Kebab or Kabob dish is almost on every restaurant’s menu in Turkey. It is also popular in Western countries as takeaway food and is usually wrapped in a flatbread with some garlicky yoghurt sauce. They are absolutely delicious and very easy to make at home with my simple recipe. I promise they taste just as good, if not much better!
How to Make Shish Tawook (Turkish Chicken Kebab)?
Making Chicken Shish Kebabs at home is surprisingly easy. However, there are few simple steps to follow for you to achieve the best results:
- Marinate the chicken – There are many recipes for chicken shish kebab marinade and most of them use yoghurt. I prefer using milk instead as it gives a softer texture and better taste to the meat. To prepare the marinade, mix milk, tomato paste, olive oil, salt and spices in a bowl and then add the chicken. Nicely combine until all chicken pieces are covered with marinade then cover the bowl. Let the chicken marinate overnight or minimum of 2 hours. Don’t let them marinate for more than 24 hours as the acid in the marinade will destroy the texture of the meat.
- Thread the chicken pieces and veggies onto skewers – When the chicken is marinated and you are ready to cook, start preparing the vegetables. Firstly, peel the onion and then cut in chunky cubes similar size to chicken. Secondly, wash the tomatoes and cut them into wedges, or use whole cherry tomatoes. And then cut the Turkish chilli peppers into 4 pieces. If you are using bell peppers, cut them ito chunky cubes similar size to chicken. Thread the chicken and vegetables onto metal kebab skewers. If you want to use bamboo skewers, soak them in the water beforehand for 30 minutes so that they don’t burn. When threading the chicken, it’s important not to pack the skewers too tight or too loose. If too tight, the skewer will take too long to cook. If it is too loose, the chicken and vegetables may overcook. Ideally, the chicken and vegetables will touch each other without being too close to each other.
- Cook the chicken kebabs- The best way to cook shish tawook is by grilling them on the BBQ. Alternatively you can use your oven grill to cook them. When cooking on the BBQ, make sure the grill is properly hot before you place the chicken shish kebabs on them. Cook for 12-14 minutes or the core temperature reaches 74 °C. If you want to use the oven, preheat the oven-grill to 210 °C. Place them on a tin foil-lined tray and then cook for 15 minutes or the core temperature reaches 74 °C. The cooking time may vary to the size of the chicken cubes and the heat of your BBQ/oven. Make sure you keep a good eye on them to prevent burning.
Use boneless and skinless chicken breast or thigh for shish kebabs. You can also use a mixture of both if you want to enjoy two different textures at the same time.
Marinating the chicken prevents the meat from drying out and making it chewy. It also helps to tenderize the chicken, makes it juicier, and reduces the time of cooking.
The best way to serve these homemade chicken shish kebabs is to serve them with Pita Bread, our classic Turkish Rice Pilaf, and some pickled gherkins. Other alternatives are Bulgur Pilaf, Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf (Mercimekli Bulgur Pilavi), Bazlama (Turkish Flatbread), Tomato and Walnut Salad (Gavurdagi Salatasi), Mediterranean Whipped Feta Dip or Authentic Hummus.
Yes, tawook shish kebab is a healthy dish as they are grilled meat and usually served with some salad and pita bread.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious and healthy Turkish Chicken Shish Tawook as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Chicken Shish Kebab
Marinade for the Chicken
- ¼ cup olive oil (60 ml)
- ¼ cup milk (full fat or semi-skimmed)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp red pepper paste (optional, could be replaced with tomato paste)
- ½ TSP chili flakes (adjust to your taste)
- ½ TSP paprika
- ½ TSP freshly ground black pepper
- 1 TSP salt
- 4 pieces boneless and skinless chicken breast (approximately 800 grams) (or equivalent amount of chicken thigh)
- 1 onion (red or white)
- 2-3 green Turkish chilies (or 1 large green bell pepper)
- 2 medium tomatoes (or 6 cherry tomatoes)
- Cut the chicken into chunky cubes size of 4-5 cm.
- Place the olive oil, milk, tomato paste, red pepper paste (if using), chilli flakes, paprika, freshly ground black pepper and salt in a bowl and whisk until combined.
- Add the chicken pieces into the bowl and give it a toss until all the chicken pieces are covered with the marinade.
- Cover the bowl, place in the fridge and let the chicken marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or preferably overnight.
- Peel the onion and cut into chunky cubes similar size to chicken.
- Wash the tomatoes and cut them into wedges.
- Cut the Turkish chilli peppers into 4 or if using bell peppers, cut them into chunky cubes similar size to chicken.
- Thread the chicken and vegetables onto metal or soaked bamboo kebab skewers.
- Cook the kebabs on the BBQ for 12-14 minutes or in the 210 °C preheated oven-grill for 15 minutes, until the core temperature reaches 74 °C.
Did you make this recipe?