I’m declaring barbecue season officially open! To get the ball rolling I have a truly delicious recipe for you, one that I have on rotation all summer long. Turkish Chicken Shish Kebabs (Tavuk Siş) are tender, tangy and so easy. The chicken is marinated in yoghurt, lemon and spices which tenderises the meat while giving it an incredible flavour. If you like you can bulk them out with plenty of healthy summer vegetables, bell peppers and zucchini are perfect here.
What would Turkish Chicken Shish Kebabs be without a big bowl of Cacık? What is that you ask? You may know it under the Greek name of Tzatziki, a cooling and delicious blend of yoghurt, cucumber and garlic. It’s simple to make and is the ideal addition to grilled meats. I like to serve these kebabs with flatbreads, but they are fantastic with rice, couscous or just some crusty white bread. Keep it relaxed, that’s what a summer barbecue is all about!
If you fancy making a whole barbecue feast, you could also grill up some Hellim/Halloumi cheese alongside the skewers. Hellim or Halloumi cheese comes from the island of Cyprus and is especially good when cooked over a wood-fire grill. Squeeze over a little lemon juice before just before serving.
Keep an eye out soon for another of my favourite Turkish barbecue recipes: Adana Kebab. I’ve also got a fabulously decadent chocolate cake for you coming up this week. Hopefully it’s sunny where you are too, and you’re able to get out and about. Take care and happy cooking! x J
for the marinade:
- 3 Tbsp yoghurt
- juice of half a lemon, approx 25ml
- small sprig rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp mild chilli flakes, or pul biber, see note
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
for the Homemade Tzatziki/Cacık:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 250 g thick Greek-Style yoghurt
- ½ a cucumber, skin peeled if very thick, finely diced
- ½ tsp salt
for the kebabs:
- 750 g chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, diced in bite-sized pieces
- 3 red onions, peeled and quartered
- 4 large flatbreads
- 2 red or green bell peppers/capsicums, in 2.5cm / 1in. dice
- 1 Tbsp runny honey
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- lemon slices
- Up to 24 hours before you want to cook the chicken, whisk together all marinade ingredients. Add the chicken, stir well to coat, then cover and refrigerate until needed. Even half an hour in the marinade is better than nothing at all, though several hours is better.
- To make the Tzatziki/Cacık, stir together all ingredients and chill until needed. Can be made up to 8 hours in advance.
- To prepare the kebabs, thread the chicken onto metal skewers, alternating with onion and bell pepper (if using). If you are using wooden skewers soak them in water for half an hour before using. Heat the grill or BBQ to medium-high, brush with oil and cook the chicken kebabs for 10 minutes, turning halfway, until charred and cooked through. If using, drizzle with a little honey and pomegranate molasses in the last 2 minutes of grilling.
- Serve immediately with Tzatziki/Cacık, lemon slices, and flatbreads.
Pul Biber, sometimes known as Aleppo Pepper is intrinsic to Turkish cooking. They are a type of chilli flake and come in every heat from Tatlı (sweet) to Çok Çok Acı - very very hot! You can substitute them with chilli flakes of your choosing, or buy them online.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 870Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 245mgSodium: 1464mgCarbohydrates: 84gFiber: 5gSugar: 28gProtein: 58g
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I don’t like chicken thighs. Can I use chicken breast?
Yes! The marinade will keep it nice and tender.
I don’t have skewers/a barbecue, can I still cook this recipe?
Of course! You can fry the meat in a little olive oil on the stovetop. It will take around the same amount of time.
I don’t have enough time to marinade! Can I still make this recipe?
Even half an hour in this marinade will make the world of difference to the flavour of these kebabs. Whisk up the marinade, throw the chicken in. By the time you’ve made a salad and are ready to thread the chicken onto skewers, the marinade will have started to work its magic. Trust me!