Introduction: Shish Taouk

The first time I heard of this recipe was when I went to a restaurant called kaffiah for our anniversary. They served us Our starter, some pineapple and onion salad and some tomato bruschetta. But this main dish stole the show.
It was the most moist and finger licking good dish I had ever tasted in my entire life. My husband is very fond of my cooking.
So when the first time I told him I would try my hands on shish toauk, he was a little more than happy. I still remember he invited his friends over for this special barbecue.
I was a little nervous about this – because I did asked one of my friend who was actually a native of Lebanon about this recipe and from what she told me was that the Lebanese food is all about garlic and olive oil.
Get hold of these two ingredients with some paprika or sumac and you will have yourself the most divine dish – ever.
For the past four years I tried this recipe switching between vinegar and lemon juice, Reducing or increasing the amount of garlic and lemon juice. Adding or avoiding ginger powder. Getting the best chili. Chargrilling or pan grilling it. Until now....

Couple of years ago She ( my friend) video called me while at a restaurant Showing me how the chef was making shish taouk, On top of the coals. I was very much fascinated with the whole idea. The new thing that I noticed was that the chef was dripping the sauce of that marinade (which was pretty thick), on top of the grilled chicken.
And he used boneless chicken. No idea whether it was leg or breast or thigh or what.
While one of the person was making the marinate at the background for second batch I noticed red wine vinegar as one of the ingredient.
And it instantly clicked that I was using the wrong vinegar this whole time. Shish taouk was no-brainer but few well balanced ingredients.
The chef told her he adds some tomato paste, chili powder, lemon juice and some thick yoghurt and lots and lots of oil.

I noted the ingredients down and begun to create the recipe with help of Wikipedia and other online shish toauk sources.
And let me tell you, it was a success.
I have been trying to post this recipe for quiet a long time, but as fate has it, this dish always finishes up before I can even take a Snapshot.


1 kg skinless boneless chicken thighs
Juice of 8 ping pong sized lemons
4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
6 tablespoons of Greek yogurt or hung yogurt
6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 table spoons of red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 teaspoon of ground ginger spice
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano leaves crushed
1/3 teaspoon of paprika ( Spanish)
1+ teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tomato paste

Grill plate

Step 1: Marinating for 13 Hours in Refrigerator According to the Diffusion Coefficient Formula.

Pulse all ingredients together except yogurt. Mix it all In the yogurt and add in the chicken thighs.

For me 16 thighs were 1kg.
Now for the marinating equation I considered each thigh as a circle of 1.25cm radius
(2.5 cm height of each thigh piece I.e diameter)

According to formulae ( in the picture)
L is 1.25cm( we need value in cm)
D is diffusion coefficient 8xe-10
And t is time of marination in seconds

If we plug it all in the equation. We get t equals to 48828 seconds.

If we divide it by 3600 that is (60 sec x60 minutes) we get 13 hours, for the marinate to reach right in the center of the chicken thighs ; from each side.

Hence I am Marinating it for 13 hours in refrigerator.

Step 2:

Just right before cooking add cornstarch to it so the marinate thickens a bit just like the way chef made it.

Step 3:

This is how I create coal starter

Step 4:

Learn how to create direct and indirect heat zones on your grill.

Direct heat is when you grill directly over the charcoal fire.

Let me explain when grilling, food is cooking too quickly on direct heat, you can easily put it on indirect heat so it will continue to cook without getting burned.

The best cooked meat ( steaks, tikka) will first be seared at a high temp on direct heat, and then put on indirect heat to continue to cook (roast) to get to its doneness.

Indirect is when you cook on the empty or slightly cooler side of a charcoal grill.

Begun with placing your charcoal in a pile and move it to one side, with the charcoal taking up half of the grilling area. This creates a FIRE and NO FIRE zone on your grill. Like I have shown in the picture.

Step 5:

Add your chicken boneless on skewers and don’t discard the remaining marinate. We will use it for searing.
As you can see I used quite large skewers so my most hot coals are in the middle column. And slightly cold ones are on the sides.

Instead of using a hand operating manual hand, use a hair dryer on lowest settings, I repeat lowest setting to cook the chicken evenly. Use it just like you would to smoke the fire.

Sear the chicken ( sear the side which cooks first, not the raw one.) And make sure you turn your chicken after 30 sec to 1 minute. Keep searing it. Be generous but not overdo it. You need these juices for caramelisation to occur I.e Millard reaction.

Step 6:

Always Use A Meat Thermometer to check doneness.

I have always over or undercooked something at one point in my life.

My husband hates if he bites under cooked chicken, and he often leaves the overcooked leather.

He loves perfectly chargrilled chicken ( meat even) dark on the outside and juicy on the inside.

But if it is dark outside, chances are you cannot tell how done the chicken is.

Use a meat thermometer and eliminate the guesswork.

Guesswork is good but not if you plan to make something perfect every time.
Estimate or approximation only comes when you know what signs in a certain method, you are looking for.

It will not make you loose your chance of being a good cook in everyone’s eyes (who uses approximation) rather it will make you consistent, and your dish will come out same every time. Keep in mind that when you take your chicken off the grill, it continues to cook, so it is OK to pull it off when it’s a few degrees under the following temperature.

Chicke: 165°F
Beef: The USDA lists the minimal internal temp for beef at 145°F. However, if you like your steaks cooked medium, go for 140°F; medium rare, go for 135°F.
Fish: 145°F
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