These are quick and easy Syrian chicken kebabs, but the meat needs time to absorb the marinade’s flavours. It’s the yoghurt that makes the meat its succulence, but don’t let the marinating stage go on for too long (longer than 90 minutes) as you may get woolly chicken. For the best flavour, grill these kebabs over charcoal–but they can be cooked on a gas or tabletop grill, on a grill pan, or in the oven.
8 to 10 kebabs
For the marinade:
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped 60 ml (4 tablespoons) olive oil Juice of one lemon 30 to 45 ml (2-3 tablespoons) plain yoghurt OR sour cream OR buttermilk 15 ml (1 tablespoon) paprika 5 ml (1 teaspoon) oregano 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) black pepper 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) salt 1.25 ml (¼ teaspoon ground ginger 1.25 ml (¼ teaspoon) red chili powder 1 kg (2 lbs) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cubed into 5cm (2-inch) pieces
To serve (optional):
Pitas Onion slices Chopped parsley Toum (garlic sauce) Syrian hummus (hummus spiced with cumin and chilli powder or paprika) Tabbouleh or fattoush salad
Make the marinade by mixing all its ingredients in a bowl that’s large enough to hold the chicken. Coat chicken pieces with marinade and refrigerate for 1- 1 1/2 hours).
While the chicken is marinating:
If you’re using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes Heat the barbecue to medium (preferably using natural wood charcoal) or preheat your grill pan When the chicken is ready, skewer the pieces. Discard any marinade that the chicken didn’t absorb. Grill the skewers by turning them every 5 minutes until juices run clear, about 10-15 minutes. When cooked, rest the skewers by placing them in an empty, warmed (but not hot), tightly lidded pot or tent them in tinfoil for about 5 to 10 minutes.
A version of this recipe appeared in my profile of the Al-hendi family of Kitchener’s Ammar Halal Meats, for my World of Food column for Grand Magazine (July-August 2019).