Friday, 25 April 2014

Turkish Chicken Shish Kebabs (Şiş Kebabs)

Flavours inspired by my favourite local(ish) Turkish restaurant, The Mangal.

Delicious, moist chicken kebabs with a really tasty, slightly spicy marinade. Perfect cooked on the BBQ to capture that authentic smoky taste, or cook indoors on a ridged griddle to capture the charred flavour.

Serve alongside my Spicy Lamb Adana Kebabs (just like kofte kebabs in flavour, but shaped around the skewer rather than rolled into balls), with a Vegetable Kebab, Easy Turkish Rice, Red Cabbage Salad and some Cacik (the Turkish version of Tzatziki) for a full on Turkish meal with a side salad and flat breads. And you can make most of it the day before, ready to go if you feel like inviting friends over for a BBQ!

Serves four (or eight, if serving alongside the lamb Adana kebabs), 76 calories per skewer if made from chicken breasts, 105 calories with chicken thighs. Two skewers per serving. [Calories in square brackets, if you're counting].

If you fancy putting together a nice Turkish feast, with a shopping list and preparation plan, then have a look here!

  • 450g skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts (thighs every time for moistness and flavour, breasts for lean meat - I sometimes use a mixture to make up the weight, depending on what I've got in, which works perfectly well too) [495 for breasts, 725 for thighs]
  • 1 tbsp Turkish red pepper paste (this is quite fundamental to the flavour - luckily it shouldn't be too hard to get hold of - I got my last jar from ASDA, which looks like this, and it keeps a while in the fridge/freezer. If you can't get hold of it, use tomato puree concentrate instead, with a teaspoon of paprika) [14]
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed [12]
  • Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon (1.5 tbsp) [16]
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil (or oil to suit your diet) [68]
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon packed full of fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried, but fresh is best) [1]
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how much heat you want) [2-3]
  • Freshly ground black pepper, a few grinds [1]
  • 8 skewers (soaked for at least an hour if wooden or bamboo)

Thoroughly mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade in a non-reactive dish (not metal). Trim all visible fat from the chicken, and cut into cubes approximately 1 inch big. If you're using a mixture of breast and thigh, make the cubes of breast meat just the tiniest bigger than the thigh meat, by just a millimetre or two so they don't dry out while the thighs are cooking through.

Mix the chicken and marinade together thoroughly, then cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours (half an hour minimum, you could also marinate overnight).

Before cooking, soak skewers for an hour if they're wooden or bamboo, then thread the chicken onto the skewers (without cramming them all up next to each other), dividing it equally. I try to have one hand purely for holding the base of the skewers, and the other to push on the chicken to avoid getting raw chicken juices onto the bottom of the skewers, but if they're heated all the way through, then this shouldn't be a problem - I just think it's good practice.

Pre-heat the barbecue, grill (broiler) or a griddle, then put the chicken over/under/on it until cooked through, turning occasionally (it may take around 10-12 minutes - check one of the thickest pieces is cooked through before serving). Enjoy!


  1. I've just made this and it was delicious. Thank you so much - brilliant recipe! I will be making this again x

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the feedback, it's possibly our favourite thing to put on the BBQ! (And we actually ate this from our favourite Turkish restaurant only a couple of days ago too!) :)


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